“Yerkir” says the controversial selection of the seven members of Armenia’s new Central Election Commission (CEC) mirrors “the stagnant and demoralized state of the entire electoral system.” “The human rights ombudsman holds a competition [for three CEC seats] and declares his two former subordinates its winners, the now former CEC chairman participates in the ombudsman’s competition and then appeals to the chairman of the Court of Cassation, asking him to submit his candidacy to the president,” writes the paper. As a result, it says, the country gets a CEC dominated by typical state functionaries. “And it is absolutely unknown with which criteria people nominate candidates,” it adds.
“Chorrord Inknishkhanutyun” says nobody believes in the ruling coalition’s claims that it will not discuss the holding of fresh elections with the opposition Armenian National Congress (HAK). “Why? Because several months they were likewise saying that there are no political prisoners in Armenia only to set them free,” argues the paper. “They were saying that they will not form a delegation [to negotiate with the HAK] but have done so now. And nobody can exclude that they will not negotiate on pre-term elections tomorrow.”
Interviewed by “Aravot,” David Grigorian of the Washington-based group Policy Forum Armenia (PFA) claims that the dialogue between the government and the HAK will focus on the distribution of seats in Armenia’s next parliament. “The government’s appetite for rigging elections and using force after that has not decreased,” he says. “But it is the whole Armenian people who will primarily suffer from that non-transparent process … There are serious concerns in this regard because neither the authorities, nor the HAK have the potential to address problems facing Armenia and our nation in the 21st century.”
“Hayots Ashkhar” is pessimistic about the ongoing developments in the Nagorno-Karabakh negotiating process. “True, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov explained on Twitter after his latest regional visit that President Medvedev made it clear to the presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan that the time to reach agreements has come,” writes the paper. “But judging from the cautious behavior of the two sides, it is not hard to notice that Armenia keeps demanding that Azerbaijan withdraw its ten proposals made at Kazan, whereas [Azerbaijan] is looking for an excuse to kill the post-Kazan process.” It says the American, French and Russian co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group will therefore hardly succeed in kick-starting that process during their upcoming trip to the region.