(Saturday, April 8)
Interviewed by “168 Zham,” Vicken Cheterian, a political expert on the Middle East, tries to allay fears that Armenia could be drawn into Russia’s mounting tensions with the West over the conflict in Syria. “I don’t think that there will be a huge escalation that will affect Armenia,” he says. He also argues that the security challenges facing Armenia have nothing to do with the Middle Eastern conflicts.
“Zhoghovurd” says that a fairly large number of Armenian political groups and individuals have been left out of the new National Assembly. “The question is what will happen to this political resource now,” writes the paper. “What are these politicians and parties going to do? It is obvious that they will manifest themselves in some way and will not completely leave the political arena.” It says that the extraparliamentary opposition forces will have to find other ways of involvement in active politics if they are to avoid disintegration before the next general elections. The lack of opposition presence in the new parliament allows them to “take over and advance the opposition agenda,” including through street protests, according to the paper.
“Right after the elections key consumer goods have again become more expensive,” writes “Hraparak.” “This seems to becoming a pattern. The reason for that is political, rather than economic, no matter how much they try to come up with economic justifications. The prices of fuel, bananas, flour and sugar have gone up since April 2. Concrete oligarchs enjoy a monopoly on their imports. They are not just wealthy businesspeople but also political entities who have taken part in the elections. Relevant bodies, notably the State Commission for the Protection of Economic Competition (SCPEC), must take action against these price hikes.” The paper does not think that they will, however.
“Zhamanak” says that the upcoming mayoral elections in Yerevan are shaping up as a two-horse race between the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK) and the opposition Yelk alliance. The paper is skeptical about Yelk’s ability to defeat the HHK, saying that the May 14 vote will hardly be less flawed than the April 2 parliamentary elections.