“Zhamanak” reports and comments on Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev’s decision to bring forward Azerbaijan’s next presidential election, initially scheduled for October 2018, by six months. The paper wonders if Aliyev is worried about unexpected internal or external developments later this year that could complicate his reelection. It notes that the snap Azerbaijani election will be held just two days after President Serzh Sarkisian completes his final term. Later in April, the Armenian parliament will elect a new prime minister who will likely be the country’s most powerful official.
“Zhoghovurd” says Sarkisian is now keen to ensure that the power levers are concentrated in the prime minister’s hands after the end of his presidency. “And since Serzh Sarkisian himself is regarded as the main candidate for the post of prime minister, they are attempting to write up the entire legislation relating to the work of government bodies in accordance with that logic,” writes the paper. It says that some of those new laws drafted by the government run counter to the Armenian constitution. In particular, the constitution empowers the next president of republic to grant pardons. However, a new government bill submitted to the National Assembly makes clear that presidential pardons must be formally proposed by the prime minister.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” reports that the prices of gasoline in Armenia rose by another 2 percent over the weekend.” “Why? It’s not clear,” writes the paper. “At least there is no logical economic explanation for that. The bulk of Armenia’s petrol is imported from Russia. The petrol price in Russia has not risen in the past week. A mystery? Yes, from the economic standpoint. But in reality everything is clear.” The fuel prices in Armenia are determined by a handful of importers, not the market, concludes the paper.
“Aravot” deplores the controversial cancellation of presentations of the Armenian translation of a memoir written by former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili. “Who are our authorities afraid of when they ban the Saakashvili book presentations?” the paper asks in an editorial. “The Kremlin or Georgia’s current government? It does not really matter. What should matter in this case is a far more simple principle: does that book violate Armenia’s laws?”