(Saturday, April 7)
“Haykakan Zhamanak” says Armenian television stations have set “astronomical prices” of pre-election political advertising, charging parties at least 100,000 drams ($274) per minute. “A number of them have declared that they are not going to give a political party more than six minutes [of airtime] a day,” writes the paper. It claims that TV channels violated the law and sold airtime to election candidates before the official start of campaigning for the May 12 elections on Sunday.
“Hayots Ashkhar” says election candidates are wrong to believe that they can mislead the electorate with ads that cast them in a highly positive light. “Especially considering the fact that as a rule, the [advertised] virtues are not possessed by the section of the population that has an ambition to become a parliament deputy,” reasons the paper.
Interviewed by “Zhamanak Yerevan,” Vahan Shirkhanian, a former deputy defense minister opposed to the current Armenian leadership, brands the upcoming elections as a “great fraud.” “Our people are in a situation where they are unable to make a choice. Namely, to understand that they are forming a government that will decide both the course and ways of the country’s development,” he says. “As is known, a person trapped in great need is incapable of looking for truth and seeking to achieve it.”
“Taregir” notes that the main election contenders are increasingly relying on popular pop and folk singers in their quest for votes. The papers says never before have there been so many open-air concerts in the country. “This is the coolest Armenian propaganda technique,” it says, concluding that its purpose is to stop voters thinking rationally.
“Hayk” reports that General Seyran Ohanian, commander of the Nagorno-Karabakh Defense Army, has been offered to take over as Armenia’s next defense minister. Citing “reliable sources,” the paper says Ohanian has agreed to take up the post on the condition that another top army general, Deputy Defense Minister Manvel Grigorian, is relieved of his duties. “It is not difficult to predict that removing Grigorian from the army is a quite hard and complicated task which Kocharian and Sarkisian may not be able to accomplish.”
“Aravot” says that Ombudsman Armen Harutiunian has come under fire from state structures which he subjected to a “very soft” criticism in his recently released annual report. The Court of Cassation and the Yerevan municipality found that criticism unacceptable, reports the paper.