“168 Zham” comments on the 17th anniversary of the adoption by Armenia’s first non-Communist parliament of a declaration of independence. The paper believes that it “laid the foundation of the independent Republic of Armenia” and finds “weird” the fact that there will be no official commemorations of that event. “The authorities are busy with more serious things: they are getting ready for ‘new realities.’ Perhaps there is another reason as well. The current authorities have not ‘tuned’ the Declaration of Independence. Therefore, they don’t have to celebrate the anniversary of its adoption.”
“Haykakan Zhamanak” continues to look at the problem of government corruption in Armenia. In an editorial, the paper says it has long engulfed the highest echelons of power. “They have realized that they should treat people in Armenia not like citizens, but goods that can be easily bought and sold. And Armenia has accepted these rules of the game. A public that gives and takes [bribes] every day hardly has anything against such rules.” The paper claims that many Armenians are willing to be “bought” for a good price.
“Hayots Ashkhar” makes the case for the consolidation of Armenian political parties, saying that that would reflect positively on the political situation in the country. The paper argues that big parties will not resort to a boycott of next year’s presidential elections which is advocated by some opposition leaders.
“Zhamanak Yerevan” condemns Nagorno-Karabakh’s former military leader Samvel Babayan and another prominent veteran of the war with Azerbaijan, Albert Bazeyan, for deciding to merge into the pro-establishment Ramkavar Azatakan Party of Armenia (HRAK). “From now on, Albert Bazeyan will be free to lambaste the opposition, while Samvel Babayan can openly be friends with his [Karabakh-born] compatriots and throw away his opposition mask,” writes the pro-opposition paper. “On the other hand, this metamorphosis reflects the whole tragedy of our country and society.”
The mayor of a village in southern Armenia which is part of a constituency where a repeat parliamentary election will be held on Sunday is quoted by “Hayots Ashkhar” as accusing aides to opposition leader Raffi Hovannisian of urging local residents not to pay taxes. “Residents of the community headed by me have informed me that those propagandists told them that land tax is refunded from the state budget and that village mayors deceive villagers and extort money,” says Ruben Karapetian.
“Aravot” reports, meanwhile, that two leading pro-government candidates in the repeat election are handing out vote bribes and collecting voters’ passports. The paper cites claims made by many local residents who it says are happy to accept cash for a second time in four months.