“Is there an atmosphere of fear in Armenia?” “Aravot” asks rhetorically. “To answer that question one needs to determine whether our country is really governed by a dictatorial regime as is sometimes claimed by our oppositionists. If so, then we live under a regime similar to the ones existing in North Korea or Turkmenistan. In that case, our people are really terrified and the institution of elections does not exist at all … But Armenia is not a dictatorship but a country with a corrupt and authoritarian regime. It is more like some countries in Latin America or the Commonwealth of Independent States.”
“Zhoghovurd” says that the ruling Republican Party’s election campaign is now even more focused on and dominated by President Serzh Sarkisian than it was in 2007. “One would expect a political force asking the people to believe to do its best to earn that faith, to explain, one by one, why they have not achieved promised results on one or another issue and to say, with maximally understandable arguments, what their latest promises and appeals are based on,” editorializes the paper. “But we can see that the HHK is not only failing to make substantial efforts but also avoiding situations in which it would have to answer the above-mentioned queries.”
Georgi Martirosian, a member of Armenia’s Central Election Commission (CEC), tells “Yerkir” that the Armenian Electoral Code amended last year allows electoral authorities and political forces to better oversee the conduct of elections. In particular, he says, the code now allows the filming of voting at polling stations. Martirosian also dismisses opposition complaints that the code does not mandate the publication of lists of voters who cast ballots. “Why should you know whether or not I voted?” he says.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” reports on a serious discrepancy between first-quarter export data released by the Armenian customs and the National Statistical Service (NSS). According to data from the customs service released on Wednesday, Armenia exported $292 million worth of goods in January-March 2012. The NSS earlier put the export total at $348 million, however.