“Chorrord Inknishkhanutyun” claims that President Serzh Sarkisian has no public support, is scared of both the opposition and his junior coalition partners, and relies only on his inner circle. The paper says this fact is illustrated by the mass defections from Gagik Tsarukian’s Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK) in the southern town of Ararat. The man who initiated those defections was appointed police chief of Ararat. “Aren’t the BHK and [Sarkisian’s] HHK coalition partners?” asks the opposition daily. “Didn’t they sign a joint declaration? Why is the person who wrecked a regional BHK chapter rewarded with the post of police chief?”
“Hraparak” welcomes the opposition push for abolishing parliamentary elections in single-mandate constituencies, saying that they have been rigged and won mainly by “various oligarchs, crime figures and semi-educated persons.” Still, the paper wonders why the opposition forces were not so active on this issue when the current parliament was amending the Electoral Code last May. “One can somehow understand the passive stance of Zharangutyun and Dashnaktsutyun,” it says. “They had no chance of success. But how to explain the BHK’s stance?”
“Yerkir” says that when asked why they want to be elected to the parliament many pro-government figures claim that “the people want that.” “Their perceptions of the people are dual,” the paper says. “The real people [for them] are their cliques, their neighborhood ‘brothers,’ bodyguards and relatives who will simply beg them to become deputies for the sake of their well-being.”
“Hayots Ashkhar” reports on the intensifying mayoral race in Hrazdan, saying that the opposition Armenian National Congress (HAK) and its local candidate, Sasun Mikaelian, are trying to make the election campaign “as noisy as possible.” “Sasun Mikaelian, members of his campaign team and HAK newspapers ensuring propaganda support have come out with accusations of vote buying, an atmosphere of terror and the use of administrative resources,” says the pro-presidential paper. “As usually happens in such cases, the accusations are many and vocal, while factual evidence is scant or non-existent.”
“Aravot” comments on the annual report by the Paris-based group Reporters Without Borders (RSF) which says that there has been progress in press freedom in Armenia in the past year. “There is really progress,” the paper says in an editorial. “But it is minimal because A1+ is not on air, [functioning] TV companies continue to be run from the presidential administration and there have been equally silly court cases and verdicts against newspapers.” The fact that Armenia is 77th in the RSF’s global press freedom rankings is of “little consolation” to the paper.