“Aravot” is outraged by the extraordinary reelection of the jailed mayor of Nor Hajn, Armen Keshishian. The paper denounces Nor Hajn voters for their show of solidarity with a man who committed a murder in broad daylight. “That the person elected by them ended a human life was secondary for those residents. The key thing for them was probably 5,000 drams which the mayor’s loyalists are rumored to have dished out.”
“Azg” says the Armenian government has all but ended “euphoria” about the compensation of Soviet-era savings deposit holders by making it clear that it will spend only 1 billion drams ($2.2 million) for that purpose next year. “Our politicians sounded so disappointed as if they live on the Moon, as if it is not they who pass the country’s budget every year, as if there are some hidden financial possibilities of which they are aware but others are not,” says the paper.
“Aravot” reports that Turkish historian Halil Berktay described the 1915 massacres of Armenians in Ottoman Turkey as genocide during last week’s NATO seminar in Yerevan. Berktay said Ottoman Armenians were slaughtered “only because of being Armenian.”
“Haykakan Zhamanak” reports that one of Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian’s two sons will not face criminal prosecution for running over and seriously injuring a young man in Yerevan. The Armenian police have said in a statement that the incident does not warrant a criminal case against Ara Oskanian. The paper says this is another indication that “there is now a social class in Armenia which enjoys numerous privileges not envisaged by law.” “The most important of them is the privilege not to be responsible before the law and the society,” it says.
“Chorrord Ishkhanutyun” reports that the Armenian opposition will fail to form a single united front ahead of next month’s constitutional referendum. “True, some agreements on tactical issues have been reached, but the impression is such that the opposition has deliberately chosen a program that will make things as easy as possible for the authorities,” claims the paper.
Deputy parliament speaker Tigran Torosian tells “Hayots Ashkhar” that the constitutional referendum will be monitored by more than 40 members of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly (PACE). But he says “the most important thing is to present the draft constitutional changes to the people.” Armenians, argues Torosian, should be told that voting for those amendments does not mean supporting the authorities.
But as opposition leader Artashes Geghamian tells “Haykakan Zhamanak,” the voters will continue to associate the amendments with the ruling regime. Geghamian also claims that his National Unity Party’s refusal to join a grouping of 17 opposition parties opposed to the constitutional reform would only strengthen the “no” campaign. He says it would be easier for the authorities to deal with and “discredit” a single opposition coalition.
“Golos Armenii” reports that a furious election commission in Yerevan’s Shengavit district hit a local judge with a glass on Monday after the latter refused to invalidate a weekend election in the area. The paper says Ara Khlvatian, deputy chairman of a local precinct commission, fled the courtroom immediately after the assault. Police have pledged to investigate the incident.