YEREVAN (Combined Sources)—Various public officials responded to the growing “No To Plunder” protest movement on Tuesday, with Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamyan confirming with reporters at the Economic Agenda 2015 forum in Yerevan that the government will use extra budget sums to cover the cost of increased electricity prices beginning on August 1. He did not go into detail about the sources of the funds.
Abrahamyan told reporters that there can be no discussion on whether the owner of the Armenian Electric Network will be changed or not. He said that the decision to conduct an audit of the body was rational.
“It was a correct decision, and will help to disperse the mistrust in the Public Services Regulatory Commission and the Electric Network of Armenia.”
Abrahamyan said that future steps will be determined after the audit has been conducted. He further added that an agreement on the company that will conduct the audit will be reached by July 10.
Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Yevand Zakharyan said in turn that concrete discussions on the nationalization of the Electric Networks of Armenia will be held also after the audit is completed.
In statement released on Tuesday, Speaker of the Armenian National Assembly, Galust Sahakyan, also gave his thoughts on the protests, urging members of the “No To Plunder” movement to remain within the limits of the law and to move the struggle onto more “rational” platforms of dialogue and cooperation.
“I urge the members of the ‘No To Plunder’ initiative to remain within the limits of legality, exclude any uncontrollable and unpredictable development of the situation, transform the struggle onto more rational platform of dialogue and cooperation, mitigate the atmosphere of general distrust with steps of compromise, jointly find solutions for the social-economic and systemic problems the country faces, proving the viability and truth of the slogan ‘We are the Owners of Our Country.’”
In his statement, Sahakyan also said that he appreciated the “new generation” guaranteeing the country’s future strength, and that it is “necessary to implement a complete examination and prosecute the perpetrators of possible excessive use of force by the police toward protesters and journalists on the morning of June 23.”
Sahakyan also noted that “different forces” aimed at turning the struggle of activists into goals that contradict national-state interests were “extremely dangerous.”