Nairi Badalian, director of the private Logos polling organization, accuses the Republican Party of Armenia (HHK) of rigging the results of Sunday’s parliamentary elections. “If the Republican Party did not falsify the elections, the Artarutyun bloc would get 15 mandates, Orinats Yerkir 14 mandates, the Republican Party and Dashnaktsutyun 13 each, National Unity 10, the MAK 6 and the HZhAM 4 mandates in the proportional voting,” Badalian tells “Aravot.” He says research conducted by Logos shows that the Republicans stuffed more than 140,000 ballots, doubling their percentage figures.
Badalian also claims that the HHK leader Andranik Markarian has enhanced his political clout at the expense of President Robert Kocharian. “What happened is, as [Defense Minister] Serzh Sarkisian would put it, is a matter of [Armenian] mentality,” the pollster says. “But we should clarify that we are talking about the mentality of not the Armenian people, but the Armenian authorities.”
According to “Hayots Ashkhar,” the real winner of the parliamentary elections is not Markarian’s Republican. It is, the paper says, “the firm alliance of big capital and the executive authority” which wields “real political and economic power” in Armenia. “The latest elections of the National Assembly prove the obvious reality that the nearly 12-year transition period in Armenia is coming to an end. By merging with the political regime, the big business acquires economic power and becomes the dominant force, dictating its conditions to the rest of the society.”
“Azg” says the only possible change in Armenia resulting from the elections is the inclusion of the Orinats Yerkir party into the HHK-led government. “Neither the Republican Party nor Dashnaktsutyun, which sought to divide the parliamentary majority seats, expected Orinats Yerkir to achieve such a success,” the paper says. And yet the latter’s aggressive campaign and “practice of buying [election] commission members” had a substantial impact on the election results. The Artarutyun bloc will be “the only pure opposition in the parliament.” As for the rival National Unity, many Armenians are disillusioned with its leader Artashes Geghamian. “Geghamian will now have to decide which camp he prefers,” “Azg” concludes.
“Aravot” editorializes that the elections were as fraudulent as the previous ones. But there is one visible change in the regime’s strategy of clinging to power. “Violence and administrative pressures are giving way to money,” the paper explains. It also sees three “good things” about Sunday’s vote: “Dashnaktsutyun has failed to considerably expand its presence in the National Assembly; no Communist has made it to the parliament; and the constitutional referendum has failed.”
“Orran” writes that Armenia’s leadership is now “illegitimate from bottom up.” “When will we at last have the courage to state that we remain a conquered people, a conquered country?” the paper screams.