In an “Aravot” article Felix Movsisian, campaign manager of mayoral candidate in Vanadzor Gagik Hovsepian, tells a story of a woman driven to death by electoral commission members: “Voter Abela Poghosian came to the polling station, but was not allowed to cast her vote with the explanation that her name was not on the list of registered voters. The commission at the polling station sent her to the court where she was sent back to the polling station. This woman had to go back and forth three times. Eventually, commission members and candidate Samvel Darpinian’s supporters not only treated this woman in a rude way hurling insults at her, but also pushed and dragged her. In the end, Abela Poghosian fell down and died of a heart attack.” Aravot adds: “Only after the woman’s death did the commission members find her name in the voter list.”
According to the data of “Hayakakan Zhamanak”, seven cases of sudden death were registered on the election day in Vanadzor. But in law-enforcers’ opinion, only three of these seven days were somehow related to the elections. In the paper’s evaluation, even three cases are enough to understand the degree of tension surrounding the elections in Vanadzor.
In “Haykakan Zhamanak’s” view, Deputy Defense Minister, “Yerkrapah” Union of Volunteers Board Chairman, Lieutenant-General Manvel Grigorian was perhaps the most unexpected acting figure in Sunday’s local elections. The general’s brother Ashot Grigorian became the mayor of Metsamor, being the only candidate for this post, by preliminary results his protégé, Gagik Avakian, also won the mayoral contest in Echmiadzin. The paper’s analyst, noting that this year the general was given the right to independently decide on candidates, links it to the spring elections in Yerevan’s Avan district. Reminding that Prime Minister Andranik Markarian’s son Taron Markarian became prefect in the Avan district of Yerevan and Manvel Grigorian’s brother-in-law Petros Amirian, who is the secretary of the Yerkrapah chapter in Avan, refused to be nominated as a candidate in those elections, “Haykakan Zhamanak” concludes: “It obviously happened as a result of negotiations between Andranik Markarian and Manvel Grigorian, and the negotiating parties divided a number of territories between themselves – Avan to us, Echmiadzin and Metsamor to you.”
“Chorrord Ishkhanutyun” is bewildered: “Instead of struggling in their town, residents of Echmiadzin came to Yerevan and staged a protest near the Presidential Palace in Yerevan. Who were they protesting against? To whom were they appealing? Don’t they know that it is Kocharian who is the ‘father’ of the system that entitles generals to establish feudal orders in one separately taken region or town?”
“Hayastani Hanrapetutyun” quotes the opinion of the head of the delegation of European observers Sean O’Brien: “The local elections were generally in keeping with the Council of Europe’s electoral standards. The electoral process was generally satisfactory.”
According to “Azg”, unlike the presidential and parliamentary elections, which are usually rigged in Armenia, local elections have their peculiarities. Simply technologies applied in local elections differ region to region. There might be tremendous differences in the selection of technologies even in two neighboring regions. “If, for example, a governor is a murderer, or an ordinary criminal and ‘bone-breaker’, the option of terrorizing people works best in this region.” Meanwhile, in the paper’s opinion, in smaller areas such as villages the winning candidate is usually the one who has the greater number of relatives. “They don’t elect a clan head rather than a village head,” “Azg” concludes.
Politicizing the post of electric networks bosses, “Aravot” editorializes: “That’s why top managers of electric networks have become mayors at least in three towns of Armenia and that’s only the beginning.”