Commenting on yesterday’s joint statement of 22 parties supporting constitutional reforms in Armenia, “Haykakan Zhamanak” writes: “This figure  is perhaps not chosen accidentally, as the authorities needed to rally at least 22 units of supporters to outnumber the 21 political units pronouncing against the coalition’s package of constitutional amendments.”
In “Aravot’s” view, the governmental parties once again expressed their concern about the free and fair conduct of the referendum, and the price of this concern, in the paper’s evaluation, became obvious from the attitude of Prime Minister Andranik Markarian to the local elections held two days before. “Who said the elections were handled poorly? I followed them, they were normal,” the premier commented.
“Hayots Ashkharh” writes that the West is not at all a neutral observer in the matter of saying ‘yes’ to the constitutional amendments, but, in fact, it is a party concerned, something which is not hidden by the diplomatic corps of the United States or European countries, and the heads of European authoritative agencies. “It is preferable for the West to deal with strong and predictable authorities rather than with a weak and unclear opposition,” the paper concludes.
“Haykakan Zhamanak”, informing that U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Daniel Freed held meetings with representatives of political forces in Armenia, notes: “Unlike other Western figures, Daniel Freed did not join the propaganda for ‘yes’ to the constitutional reforms, but stated that democracy is when a real expression of people’s will as a result of a free and fair ballot is respected.”
“Aravot” editorializes on the issue of dual citizenship, writing: “Why should an Armenian living in Tambov [a provincial town in Russia] think about Armenia’s prosperity more than about his native Tambov? Imagine that this resident of Tambov will be allowed to elect Armenia’s parliament and president. One can say with certainty that he will be guided by the will of his Tambov authorities, as it is these authorities he depends upon. If we consider the fact that there are more Armenians living in Russia and in Armenia and all of them will be potential voters in Armenian elections, then it is very likely that the president of the Russian Federation will instruct these Armenians with dual citizenships to vote, for example, in favor of the Ramkavar-Azatakan party and this party will win a majority in our parliament by the will of Russian authorities, let alone the possible development in which these dual citizens will have the right to be elected in Armenia.”
According to the “168 Zham” newspaper, Armenian President Robert Kocharian had a rest at the lakeside on October 16 and there he met representatives of the coalition to discuss certain issued related to the upcoming constitutional referendum. According to the reports of the paper’s sources, Vahan Hovannisian of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation expressed his discontent with Armenian police. In particular, he was discontent with Passports and Visas Department Head Alvina Zakarian. His complaints were caused by the fact that as a result of inaccuracies in voter lists the names of a considerable number of Dashnak party members were missing in the list, as a result of which people had no opportunity to participate in the vote.
(By Hrach Melkumian)