Interviewed by “Chorrord Ishkhanutyun,” Levon Zurabian, a leader of the opposition Armenian National Congress (HAK), expresses concern about growing reports that the governing Republican Party of Armenia (HHK) has begun collecting voters’ passport numbers to ensure its victory in the May 31 mayoral elections in Yerevan. “Unfortunately, it is very difficult to move this information to the legal plane,” says Zurabian. “For understandable reasons, people are mainly scared of giving their names. After all, we live in a dictatorial country where people are persecuted en masse for their political views.”
“Hraparak” reports that HHK representatives have held “emergency meetings” with school principals in Yerevan’s Malatia-Sebastia district during which the latter were told about how to earn the party votes in the May 31 elections. The paper says a similar meeting was also held two days earlier at the Yerevan municipality. It cites unnamed schoolteachers as saying that every Yerevan school was assigned to bring 500 votes to the HHK.
“Azg” says that the Zharangutyun party must not bow to pressure from the HAK and cede its seats in Yerevan’s election commissions to Levon Ter-Petrosian’s alliance. “By the same token, they will say tomorrow, ‘If Zharangutyun is really in opposition, let it also give us its parliament seats,’” says the paper. It believes that Zharangutyun must not help the HAK in the elections and should instead act like an independent observer “without emotions” because Zharangutyun supporters do not really like the “extreme opposition.”
Writing in “Aravot,” Vartan Jaloyan, a culture and arts commentator, defends the mental health of Shant Harutiunian, one of the imprisoned oppositionists who is currently undergoing an examination at a psychiatric clinic in Yerevan. “Shant is one of the most spiritually healthy persons in Armenia,” he says. Jaloyan accuses the Armenian authorities of reviving the Soviet-era practice of using psychiatry for suppressing dissent. He says the findings of Harutiunian’s medical examination can therefore not be deemed credible.
“Hayots Ashkhar” says that all over the world all branches of government, and not just executive cabinets and Central Banks, are dealing with the global economic crisis. “In our country, however, the National Assembly has been at the backyard of events right from the beginning of the crisis,” complains the paper.