(Saturday, December 16)
“Zhamanak” says that President Serzh Sarkisian’s latest televised interview only raised more questions about his political future. “The situation is really noteworthy,” writes the paper. “Serzh Sarkisian said that he has no idea what he is going to do, has no decision [to that effect] and will have one ‘when the time comes.’ And yet representatives of the [ruling] HHK continue to speak of his premiership and ‘undisputed’ leadership.” It suggests that Sarkisian’s decision to become prime minister is still not a forgone conclusion.
“Zhoghovurd” notes that Sarkisian also did not exclude that some of the former senior state officials will return to government soon. “Serzh Sarkisian just said that everyone will be looked at on a case-by-case basis,” the paper says, pointing to his remark that “I have a lot of respect for those people who have served the Republic of Armenia.” “But I don’t mean to say that those persons are irreplaceable,” the president added. The paper speculates that he may have referred to people such as former Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamian, former Finance Minister Gagik Khachatrian, former Defense Minister Seyran Ohanian, former Transport Minister Gagik Beglarian.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” writes on serious problems with the implementation of an expensive government project to refurbish Armenia’s main highways. The paper says that the so-called North-South project cannot move forward without the government taking more and more multimillion-dollar loans. “For that reason, they will cut funding for other spheres and that trend will constantly deepen,” it claims. “But the most terrible thing is that there has still not been a serious and convincing analysis on how that highway will contribute to Armenia’s economic development. The debt incurred for the sake of building it is so large that in order to repay it Armenia needs not just economic growth but rapid economic growth. And such a prospect does not await Armenia, at least in the short term.”