“168 Zham” says that contrary to government assurances, the role of political parties in Armenia is not increasing as a result of the country’s current transition to the parliamentary system of government. The paper argues that Armenian media coverage and commentary in the run-up to the April 2 parliamentary elections is focused on concrete individuals, rather than organizations. Many of those individuals are not even politicians, it says.
“These elections and processes preceding them are once again confirming the well-known truth: there are no eternal enemies or friends in politics,” writes “Hraparak.” The paper says that the pre-election period in Armenia is seeing both reconciliations and new enmities.
“Zhoghovurd” says that Mihran Poghosian, a former senior Armenian official who resigned last year over reports that he has secret offshore assets, could run for parliament as a candidate of the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK). Law-enforcement authorities made clear recently that they will not press criminal charges against him. The Armenian affiliate of the Berlin-based watchdog Transparency International issued a statement this week warning the HHK and other parties against including Poghosian on their electoral lists. The paper describes lingering government support enjoyed by Poghosian as “yet another lost opportunity” for Armenia.
“Zhamanak” says that the United States is pressing the Armenian authorities harder to fight against corruption, commenting on a speech delivered by U.S. Ambassador Richard Mills in Yerevan on Wednesday. The paper says Mills for the first time stressed the importance of prosecuting corrupt Armenian officials. “The change of tone is quite noteworthy in itself, especially on the eve of the elections,” it says. “It is certainly hard to imagine the Armenian authorities taking concrete anti-corruption steps now, especially during a pre-election period where it is corruption that should help the regime reproduce itself.”
“Haykakan Zhamanak” says latest figures from the Central Bank of Armenia (CBA) show that cash remittances from Armenians working abroad soared in December after almost two years of rapid decline. The paper speculates that this may have resulted from the entry into force of an earlier CBA decision to sharply raise minimum capital requirements for Armenian commercial banks.