“One of the most promising representatives of the opposition is defeated by a member of [Artashes] Geghamian’s discredited party,” “Hraparak” editorializes on the weekend parliamentary by-election in Yerevan. “An unknown somebody who not only lacks any visible qualities but does not even have much wealth. It seemed that it will be very difficult to turn him into a deputy.” The paper says the authorities deliberately made sure that Nikol Pashinian lost to a lackluster figure like Ara Simonian so that the opposition understands that it stands no chance in its standoff with President Serzh Sarkisian.
Geghamian, meanwhile, tells “Hayots Ashkhar” that the vote “created a good basis” for the proper conduct of future national elections and marked the beginning of a “new political culture” in Armenia. “It was a progressive step that fostered democratization,” says Geghamian.
“Aravot” reckons that free and fair elections in Armenia are possible only if the public shows very strong interest in them. The paper says turnout in Sunday’s election was extremely low because “people are tired of and disillusioned with the government and the opposition and politics in general.” “The seasonal factor was not the most importance one in this case,” it says in an editorial. It goes on to accuse the authorities of rigging the ballot.
Deputy Justice Minister Emil Babayan tells “Hayastani Hanrapetutyun” that the Armenian state has had to pay about 74,000 euros ($106,000) in damages as a result of 16 rulings passed against it by the European Court of Human Rights since 2002. Gevorg Kostanian, an aide to President Serzh Sarkisian who represents Armenia in the Strasbourg court, is quoted as saying that those rulings were handed down “for the state.” “We can get a substantial result and positive movement from every ruling,” he says, adding that the authorities will investigate and punish Armenian officials responsible for the fines imposed by the court.
Galust Sahakian, the parliamentary leader of Sarkisian’s Republican Party of Armenia (HHK), assures “Iravunk de facto” that the Armenian government will not succumb to “tricks” which he says are planned by Turkey. Sahakian says Ankara will fail to clinch any Armenian concessions on Nagorno-Karabakh.