“Aravot” writes that even pro-government politicians have deplored the authorities’ refusal to register opposition leader Aram Karapetian as a candidate in this month’s parliamentary elections. The paper calls the decision “ludicrous.” “The person who was recognized as a candidate for the presidential post just a few months ago is now stripped of the right to participate in the parliamentary elections. The explanation for this nonsense is definitely a political one.”
“At that time the authorities registered Aram Karapetian as a candidate so that he can steal votes from [Artashes] Geghamian and [Stepan] Demirchian,” “Aravot” continues. “But he very quickly dispelled all doubts, unconditionally joining the radical opposition. Such matters are solved at the presidential administration, not at some election commissions or courts that are puppets of the executive authority.”
“Yerkir” says that vote bribes are taking more sophisticated forms in Armenia. Wealthy candidates can no longer impress voters by paving streets in their neighborhoods. They instead donate computers to secondary schools and trumpet their largesse through electronic media. “No one is trying to get an explanation for such an unhidden practice of vote buying,” the paper complains. “No one is even trying to remember the Election Code which strictly prohibits provision of such free service during election campaigns.”
Hrant Markarian, a leader of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun), tells “Aravot” that the irregularities registered during the presidential election have harmed his party’s standing. “Everyone except us has benefited from the irregularities,” Markarian says, arguing that those served as a catalyst for the unification of opposition forces. Dashnaktsutyun, nonetheless, believes that it “did a right thing.” Armenia’s leadership “should at last be formed by political forces,” according to Markarian. He also ducks a question on whether Dashnaktsutyun should be considered Kocharian’s support base.
Interviewed by “Hayots Ashkhar,” the director of the Armenian National Security Service, Karlos Petrosian, denies owning or controlling any businesses. “Nor do I sponsor anyone,” he says, adding: “Strangely, Armenia is the only country of the world where you are criticized and blamed for building, reconstructing or working on something. In fact, those people do not care about state building. They are more interested in personal building.” Petrosian also criticizes the opposition media for periodically “discrediting” his agency.