“Zhamanak” says that despite government pledges to separate business from politics, a “fairly large” number of oligarchs will run for the Armenian parliament in single-mandate constituencies. Some of them have already confirmed such plans. The paper says the assurances given by President Serzh Sarkisian and Prime Minister Tigran Sarkisian are therefore a “big lie.” “This also shows that power in Armenia continues to be in the oligarchs’ hands,” it claims, adding that this explains why the authorities are so opposed to the abolition of parliamentary elections held in single-mandate constituencies.
“Yerkir” says that in their quest for retaining power the authorities disregard “the real danger threatening our statehood.” “In these circumstances, an initiative announced by the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun) is not accidental,” the paper says, referring to the opposition party’s decision to recruit thousands of election volunteers. The Dashnaktsutyun-linked daily draws parallels between this move and the recruitment of Armenian volunteer fighters during the Karabakh war in the early 1990s.
Gagik Melikian, a senior deputy from the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK), tells “Hayots Ashkhar” that political tensions in the country have eased significantly since the 2008 presidential election. Melikian says there is now a “visible field of tolerance” on the Armenian political scene. “And the tensions about which opposition politicians and media are talking about are characteristic of pre-election developments,” he says.
“168 Zham” sees a glaring contrast between the reality and the picture painted by “government propaganda.” The paper points out that the government’s own statistical data shows that the poverty rate in Armenia rose from 28 percent in 2008 to about 36 percent in 2010. “So the current authorities acknowledge that life in Armenia has become more unbearable during their tenure … but then state that they will win a majority in the future parliament,” it says. “And these statements are voiced in parallel to internal and external [government] promises to hold the most fair and honest elections.” The paper says that the authorities either regard voters as fools or simply admit that they are not serious about holding democratic elections.