“By ceding our section of the Armenia-Iran pipeline to the Russian side we have seriously hit our neighbor and partner [Iran] from behind,” “Hayk” writes, commenting on the latest Armenian-Russian energy agreement. The paper says Yerevan dealt a severe blow to Tehran’s hopes to find a new conduit for exports of its natural gas to Europe. “We left Iran with a fait accompli, something which the ambitious rulers of that country will not forgive,” it claims.
“The main method of ensuring the regime’s victory in elections is to fix numbers, writing in vote protocols data that are extremely different from the real picture,” writes “Aravot.” The paper urges the Armenian opposition not to boycott the forthcoming parliamentary elections and to deploy its representatives in all of the 2,000 or so polling stations instead. “If all opposition parties have 2,000 proxies that can not be bribed and the OSCE deploys as many observers it will be possible to make those elections more or less bearable,” it says.
“Hayots Ashkhar” is skeptical about opposition parties’ reported plans to field single candidates in all of then 41 single-mandate constituencies, saying that their chances to make a strong showing will be slim in any case. “Hoping that one of the leaders of the HZhK, National Unity, Orinats Yerkir or Hanrapetutyun will win in their electoral district means being impossibly optimistic,” editorializes the paper. “Besides, why are they seeking to again get into the parliament so much in the first place?”
“Taregir” claims that the president of the republic and the army have always struggled for power in Armenia. “It is pretty clear that political forces sponsored by Kocharian are a minority within the government,” writes the paper. “No matter how much they dish out potatoes and vegetables [to farmers], they will not be able to defeat forces backed by the army. It is no accident that the shortest path to becoming a parliament deputy in Armenia starts from the defense minister’s office and passes through the local police station. Little wonder then, that it is mainly Republicans that become deputies under the majoritarian system.”
“Haykakan Zhamanak” reports that the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun) is to open “political consultations” with other major political parties over its proposal to form a multi-party structure tasked with ensuring the freedom and fairness of the next parliamentary elections. Armen Rustamian, a Dashnaktsutyun leader, is quoted as saying that the initiative will work only if it is joined by both pro-government and opposition forces.