“Aravot” believes that it was not so much money as “the ability to spend it efficiently” that decided the outcome of the Armenian parliamentary elections. That is why, it says, a number of small but well-funded parties supporting President Kocharian failed to enter the parliament. The Ramkavar Azatakan party, for example, told the people what if they vote for that party, its main sponsor, Russian-Armenian tycoon Ara Abrahamian, will pour millions of dollars into the Armenian economy. This was a weak argument, the paper says. Many wondered why Abrahamian needs to have a loyal party in the parliament to make investments.
A senior member of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun) tells “Aravot” that the nationalist party, which did not make a strong showing in the elections, will not content itself with a handful of parliament seats. “I consider these elections to be devoid of ideas,” Alvard Petrosian says. “I would have been happy if our figures were smaller but we were given as much as we won. I can’t be happy now because I don’t think that there were honest elections. I can not regard what happened as moral. What happened was a total vote bribery.” Petrosian also emphasizes that Dashnaktsutyun “will not support anyone in exchange for taking an extra vote or portfolio.”
However, Hovik Abrahamian, the minister for local government and a leader of the Republican Party (HHK), assures “Aravot” that the elections marked “several steps forward” in Armenia’s democratization and development. “We did not commit any violations,” he claims. “If anyone tries to accuse us of violations that won’t be fair.” Abrahamian is confident that his party will retain the post of prime minister and that the composition of his government “will not change a lot.” He also believes that the Orinats Yerkir party, which will have the second largest faction in the new National Assembly, should get the post of its speaker.
“Orran,” meanwhile, continues to accuse the Republicans of falsifying the election results. The paper alleges that Kocharian and Defense Minister Serzh Sarkisian have robbed the opposition Artarutyun alliance of victory and will now have a loyal legislature. It quotes Artarutyun leader Stepan Demirchian as saying that Sunday’s elections marked a “step forward in terms of the distribution of [vote] bribes.” Coupled with the chronic ballot box stuffing, the practice has shaped a “new culture of elections” in Armenia, the paper says.
“Orran” also reports that many members of the pro-Kocharian Hzor Hayrenik party, which mainly comprises Armenians born in Georgia’s Javakheti region, are furious with its failure to clear the 5 percent vote barrier which they believe is the result of electoral fraud. They are demanding “very drastic steps” from the party’s leaders.
According to “Golos Armenii,” “the party of money” has come to power in Armenia as a result of the elections. “It will protect only its parochial, not state interests,” the paper says. The elections, it says, marked the final “merger of money and politics” in Armenia.