Armenian newspapers carry dramatic headlines about Sunday’s local election in Yerevan’s Arabkir district that was marred by a serious violent incident. “Disgracefully transparent elections,” reads one of them.
“If the number two figure in the state can be removed from his post as a result of palace intrigues … one must not be surprised that supporters of Stirlitz Abo (the nickname of Albert Yeritsian, the newly elected mayor of Arabkir) stabbed a proxy of his rival,” comments “Hraparak.” The paper believes the incident highlighted what sees as widespread lawlessness and culture of violence against government critics in Armenia.
According to “168 Zham,” the elections in Arabkir and three other Yerevan districts demonstrated that “the February 19 and March 1 syndromes have not yet been overcome.” The paper reports on “an atmosphere of fear and terror” which it says reigned in Arabkir on election day. It says that atmosphere was created by “the state machine and criminal underworld figures.”
“The elections in Arabkir showed that we are still very far from ridding ourselves of elections dominated by neighborhood and crime figures,” writes “Hayots Ashkhar.” “That is, we are still at a point where holding an election without casualties is considered the lesser evil.”
“Today I would have liked to shake the hand of the winning candidate but that hand is blood-stained,” Zoya Tadevosian, the defeated opposition candidate in Arabkir, tells “Chorrord Ishkhanutyun.”
“Haykakan Zhamanak” reports that parliament speaker Tigran Torosian has agreed to quietly resign but made clear that he will not agree to take up other government posts. “All the signs are that Tigran Torosian is offended by the Republican Party’s discontent with him,” says the paper.
“I don’t think that the party’s decision should be linked to the personality or work of Tigran Torosian,” a senior Republican parliamentarian, Galust Sahakian, tells “Hayots Ashkhar.” “Today the party sees me as a parliament deputy, tomorrow it can see me as a village mayor.”
“Hayk” wonders why the Republican Party (HHK) installed Torosian as parliament speaker in June 2007 in the first place. “During all this time nothing has changed in Torosian’s work style, political views” says the opposition paper. “Since Hovik Abrahamian urgently needs to be made chairman of the National Assembly, Torosian has become ‘inexpedient’ for the button-pressing parliament majority.” It speculates that Abrahamian’s main mission will be to pay the way for former President Robert Kocharian’s appointment as prime minister.