“Haykakan Zhamanak” notes with disappointment that none of the election candidates has come up with a “serious and comprehensive formula regarding Armenia’s future” throughout the four-week campaign. “It is obvious that the country’s so-called political elite is unable to understand critical challenges facing the nation and suggest appropriate solutions to them. Money remains the main value among the political class. Their rhetoric is patriotism.” Nonetheless, the paper says, Armenians should go to the polls this Sunday and “choose from what we have.”
“Hayots Ashkhar” similarly complains that the people have heard “no ideas or programs, let alone mechanisms for their implementation.” “That is, nothing has been propagated [by the parties]. They have instead presented easily digested, heart-winning advertisements,” the paper says.
“Iravunk” interprets Prime Minister Andranik Markarian’s and Defense Minister Serzh Sarkisian’s remarks at this week’s Republican Party (HHK) gathering in Yerevan as an order to ensure the HHK’s victory in the elections “at any cost.” This, according to the paper, set the stage for another massive vote rigging in Armenia. And it is not just the Republicans that will try to manipulate the elections, it says. There are plenty of other pro-presidential forces eager to do that. All of which could result in an even more critical report by European election observers.
In an interview with “Hayots Ashkhar,” Markarian claims that his party has born the brunt of criticism voiced during the election campaign. He argues that the Republicans can not falsify elections because they hold only one seat in the election commissions. “The Republicans are confident that the parliamentary elections will be free and fair,” he says. “The current course of the campaign shows that there is no tension.” Asked about who will make up the next government, he says: “I think there will be a government of political agreements which we could call a coalition.” He goes on to warn the HHK’s potential allies against “burning all cooperation bridges.”
“Aravot” editorializes that there is no real opposition force in the pool of election candidates. “Only those who offer alternative ways of the country’s development can be considered a real opposition,” the paper writes. It says the existing opposition groups are ready to continue current government policies. They just promise to be more honest, competent and professional. A real opposition, according to “Aravot,” would have committed itself to ending the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict within the next five years and leading Armenia into NATO and the European Union by 2013. Also, it would have pledged radical political and economic reforms.