“Hayots Ashkhar” notes that not only ordinary voters but also political analysts have a hard time understanding the platforms of the parties running for parliament. “One gets the impression that we are dealing not with elections to the National Assembly but a national contest of songs and music, wit and eloquence, almost all participants of which have to utter the same phrases,” says the paper. “Those are mainly a set of political science terms necessary for high school students: justice, democracy, prosperity, corruption, jobs, plunderers, clans, and a number of other words and standards expressions containing them.” It also says virtually all election contenders have opposition agendas, “totally ignoring the government-opposition division.”
“Hayk” reports that the Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK) has paid “fairly large sums” to its members sitting on precinct-level election commissions. They are expected to “do a good job.” “In Yerevan, that sum varies from $200 to $300.” The paper says the BHK controls at least one of the commission seats reserved for Armenian courts. “However, the BHK is unhappy with its share and is now actively trying to buy commission seats controlled by opposition parties.” Also trying to buy those seats is the governing Republican Party, according to “Hayk.”
“Aravot” reports on rumors that a member of district election commission in Yerevan who used to be affiliated with the opposition People’s Party (HZhK) and the Artarutyun bloc has “sold out.” “Friends are sure that Armen Yeranian has once again given Artarutyun seats [in the lower-level commissions] to the authorities and the HHK in particular,” says the paper.
Vartan Malkhasian, a jailed opposition activist who is running for parliament in another single-mandate district, tells “Aravot” from his prison that the May 12 elections will be “fateful” for the Armenian people. “The people must understand that if they accept the state of slavery they must also accept the bad life of a slave,” he says, adding that in that case they will have no right to demand justice and rule of law. “Don’t be conscious slaves,” Malkhasian tells Armenians.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” reports that a huge HHK billboard hangs from the façade of the main government building in Hrazdan, the capital of the Kotayk region, in gross violation of Armenia’s election code. The code stipulates that parties committing such violations can be disqualified from elections.
“Zhamanak Yerevan” says Minister for Local Government Hovik Abrahamian, who is a senior member of the HHK, is rumored to have played an important role in the drawing up of the BHK’s list of election candidates. “When the late Prime Minster Andranik Markarian was informed about this, the latter did not believe that his party’s campaign manager could do such a thing,” says the paper. But it says those who told Markarian the news phoned Abrahamian and the latter confirmed the information. Markarian is said to have summoned Abrahamian to office and demanded explanations just days before his death.