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Press Review


“Haykakan Zhamanak” comments on the outcome of Sunday’s by-election to Armenia’s parliament and, in particular, opposition leader Raffi Hovannisian’s poor showing. “In fact, what happened once again showed that electoral struggle in Armenia has been turned into commerce,” writes the paper. “That is, the voter’s choice depends on who pays how much for a vote.”

According to “Azg,” the election provided the governing Republican Party of Armenia (HHK) with another opportunity to demonstrate its power. “The vote tally was not accidental either, regardless of whether they had worked beforehand, with or without administrative resources and vote bribes, in order to secure such an outcome,” the paper says, comparing the vote to a “successful military exercise.”

“Zhamanak Yerevan” ridicules Hovannisian’s post-election statement in which he alleged serious fraud and at the same time congratulate the HHK-backed winner. “It turns out that Raffi Hovannisian is ready to congratulate a candidate elected by means of falsifications,” comments the paper. “So it can already be said that if Raffi Hovannisian contests the 2008 presidential election and again gets 3 percent [of the vote,] he will congratulate the regime’s candidate, elected by fraudulent means, the next day. No opposition or semi-opposition presidential candidate has done that until now.”

“Hayots Ashkhar” describes the weekend murder of Albert Ghazarian, the chief prosecutor of the northern Lori region, as a “gauntlet thrown at the entire state.” The paper says solving the murder will be a “difficult test” for experienced prosecutors, police officers and security agents investigating it. “And not just because contract killings, which are usually committed by professional killers, are usually difficult to solve. The thing is that throughout his professional activities Albert Ghazarian trampled on many feet, uncovered many abuses and crimes and could have therefore made many enemies.”

“It’s been several years since the state apparatus in the Lori region split into several armies and each of them has been trying to extend its influence to the other,” writes “Aravot.” The paper says this has resulted in “serious disagreements” between local government and law-enforcement bodies. “When the post of Shirak governor became vacant, Prime Minister Serzh Sarkisian offered Albert Ghazarian to become governor because the latter was born in that region.” The paper says Sarkisian therefore tried to “put an end to mutual hatred among state officials” in Lori … But the prosecutor did not accept the prime minister’s proposal on the grounds that he can’t work together with the mayor of [Shirak’s capital] Gyumri, Vartan Ghukasian.”

(Atom Markarian)
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