According to “Aravot,” the web site of the governing Republican Party of Armenia (HHK) alone provides sufficient grounds for its disqualification from the parliamentary elections. The paper cites specific examples of Republican leaders promising various material benefits and services to ordinary citizens during the election campaign. It says the practice amounts to vote buying and therefore runs counter to Armenia’s electoral legislation.
The HHK, meanwhile, runs a campaign advertisement in “Azg” which lauds “the absence of populism” in the party’s campaign rhetoric. “The party promises only things the implementation of which it believes is feasible,” reads the ad.
“Ayb-Fe” quotes Republican leader Galust Sahakian as saying that Armenians should not pay too much attention to the conclusions to be made by international election observers. “The observer’s job is to observe, and nothing else,” he says. “They can write whatever they want.” Sahakian also claims that the evaluations of Armenian elections by various foreign monitoring teams are shaped by the latter’s “geopolitical interests” and should therefore not be taken seriously.
In an interview with “Aravot,” the head of OSCE monitors, Robert Barry, denies rumors that his predecessor Peter Eicher, who monitored the recent presidential election, did not return to Armenia because European states found his election reports too critical. “Europe was disappointed not with Eicher, but with Armenia’s leadership,” Barry says. Asked to comment on the ongoing election campaign he says: “I think that the leaders of Armenian political parties, including pro-government ones, really want to have better elections. It is also true that there is more competition inside the pro-government bloc.” The most fierce battles, according to Barry, are being waged between individual candidates running in single-mandate constituencies. Many candidates there are not controlled by any party and even the authorities, he adds.
“Hayots Ashkhar” writes that the election campaign has visibly lost momentum during its final phase. Even the political leaders seem to have been bored of their uniform speeches and promises. But paradoxically, the paper says, the overall political situation in the country is becoming more and more tense as the election contenders gear up for the voting day, fearing a repeat of electoral fraud. The paper accuses the opposition of spreading false rumors that the authorities have already determined the composition of the next National Assembly. This could again undermine public trust in the electoral process and spark a new wave of opposition demonstrations, it concludes.