“Iravunk” pressed Parliament Speaker Artur Baghdasarian on whether he believed or not that it was possible to hold free and fair elections in Armenia in 2007 and 2008. The top legislator replied: “Serious social and political shocks are expected in Armenia in the event of fraudulent elections. It is no longer possible to digest such an election handling either inside the country or outside.”
On the pages of “Aravot” lawyer Hrair Tovmasian criticizes the proposed reforms of the Electoral Code as cosmetic by 70 percent, regressive by 15 percent, with only 15 percent or real improvement. Pointing out that a number of proposed amendments will provide an opportunity for riggings, he tells “Aravot”: “From a constitutional law expert I seem to have turned into a criminal law specialist, and when I study changes to the Electoral Code first of all I try to guess what will they think now, what mechanisms they will employ to break the law this time around.”
In “Aravot”, the Republican Party’s parliamentary faction leader Galust Sahakian described the internal political situation in Armenia, saying: “After all, all political teams feel that the 2007 elections will largely depend on people’s will. In this regard, everyone is still engaged in organizational activities, there are no definite arrangements between parties, and it is positive in the sense that there will be no early start of electioneering.”
“Haykakan Zhamanak” cites data suggesting that the import of expensive cars has sharply increased in the republic since 2003, when the last presidential and parliamentary elections were held. Writing that those elections were marred by large-scale violations and that last November’s constitutional referendum was even more fraudulent, the paper makes a political point. “The weaker the democracy in the country is, the more there are cars worth $40,000 and more.”
“Azg” answers questions it has put itself: Where is corruption displayed? And where is the so-called unseen shadow? Where are the businessmen the nation is looking for hiding? Who are the godfathers of the shadow economy in Armenia?
For the paper, the answer comes down to the following: “An overwhelming majority of them are on the list of the 300 largest taxpayers released by the tax service. This list is, in fact, the official least of shadow economy and corruption in the country.”
Describing as a show the consideration of the Ombudsman’s presentation of the case of evicted residents at the Constitutional Court, “Chorrord Ishkhanutyun” writes: “Residents of North Avenue and Buzand Street were thrown out of their homes before November 27, which means that the ‘old constitution’ was violated. And the old constitution does not contain a single word about ‘exclusive priority public interests’. They could deprive those people of their property only on the basis of a law. But the National Assembly did not pass a law on that and consequently the government’s corresponding decision is illegal. And instead of presenting these indisputable facts, the Ombudsman shifts the dispute onto another plane, trying to prove that there is no ‘priority state interest’ in this case thereby enabling the state to legalize the illegalities retrospectively.”