“Haykakan Zhamanak” notes that the election took place without “serious clashes, ballot box stuffing, ballot box theft” and other forms of electoral fraud. The paper says many in Karabakh now wonder who will be the speaker of the new parliament. “The question is particularly interesting given the fact that the Democratic Party of Artsakh no longer has an overwhelming majority [in parliament],” it says.
“Aravot,” another paper critical of the Armenian government, also calls the Karabakh ballot “normal.” The paper suggests that the Karabakh Armenians are less tolerant of illegalities than most residents of Armenia proper.
“Iravunk” offers a rare voice of dissonance on the issue, saying that the Karabakh vote could serve as an alarming “model” for future elections in Armenia. “It can be concluded that in Artsakh Armenia’s Defense Minister Serzh Sarkisian celebrated a victory of his administrative and financial resources,” says the paper. It says the fact that Sarkisian did so despite the strong influence of the Dashnaktsutyun party in Karabakh could have “far-reaching consequences” in Armenia.
“If Serzh Sarkisian indeed manages to become a successor [of Robert Kocharian], then in terms of percentage points one should expect a repeat of the June 17 election results in the elections of Armenia’s National Assembly in 2007,” continues “Iravunk.” The paper says the outcome of the Karabakh vote must be of concern to not only Dashnaktsutyun but the Orinats Yerkir and Republican parties.
“Golos Armenii” takes a highly critical look at Armenia’s parliament, saying that 90 percent of its members do not engage in legislative work. “Ask any person in the street to name a synonym for the word deputy and you will hear [words like] oligarch, button-presser, thief, business owner or even worse answers. And the most unfortunate thing is that we have come to terms with that.”
In an interview with “Iravunk,” former Nagorno-Karabakh army chief Samvel Babayan throws his weight behind the Council of Europe’s recommendations on constitutional reform in Armenia. Babayan says their acceptance could stave off a “revolution” in the country. He says President Kocharian’s and the ruling coalition’s constitutional amendments are “flawed.” The rejection of those amendments at a referendum could lead to the “demise” of the three parties making up the coalition, warns the once powerful general.
Meanwhile, Karabakh President Arkady Ghukasian tells “Hayots Ashkhar” that international mediators will not propose any “final solutions” to the Karabakh dispute when they visit the region next month. “They are coming for regular consultations,” he says. “I don’t think that visit will be fateful.”
In a separate interview with “Hayots Ashkhar,” a leading Dashnaktsutyun member, Levon Mkrtchian, dismisses calls by some opposition leaders for Armenia’s pullout from the Collective Security Treaty. Mkrtchian says the Russian-led military pact remains “crucial” to Armenia’s security. Those who think otherwise simply want to “please somebody,” he adds, presumably referring to the United States.