“Hraparak” says voters in Yerevan would have found it much easier to elect a mayor directly, rather than through parties vying for seats in the city’s Council of Elders. The paper argues that the top candidate of the party that will win the May 5 elections will not necessarily become mayor.
“Zhamanak” says President Serzh Sarkisian has assigned younger members of his Republican Party of Armenia (HHK) to contest the Yerevan elections to show his political rivals that “he can beat them even in that way,” to “test” HHK youths and to “prepare for changes within the party.” “The Yerevan council is an opportunity for Serzh Sarkisian put to the test the potential of young Republicans in order to understand what those young people are capable of and whether he can rely on them ahead of 2017-2018,” speculates the paper.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” says one of its reporters posing as “an ordinary voter” has visited a Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK) campaign office to find out how much he and his relatives will be paid in return for voting for the BHK. “There is no way the BHK can hand out vote bribes,” the party spokesman, Tigran Urikhanian assures the paper. “If some people suddenly distribute vote bribes they must be punished in a manner defined by law.” Urikhanian goes on to warn the paper against “prodding” BHK campaigners to try buying votes. “If you prod a person to commit such a crime you will bear equal responsibility,” he says. “Please keep that in mind.”
In an interview with “Irates de facto,” Yerjanik Abgarian, a prominent ally of former President Levon Ter-Petrosian, defends the opposition leader’s desire to form an anti-government alliance with BHK leader Gagik Tsarukian. Abgarian insists that Tsarukian, who has made a huge fortune thanks to government connections, could eventually renounce “criminal and unfair rules of the game” and “seek to lead a lawful life.” “Especially now that he has accumulated significant wealth. The only way of securing its future … is to enter the lawful domain,” says Abgarian. He echoes Ter-Petrosian’s claims that Armenia’s richest businesspeople should be interested in a “bourgeois-democratic revolution.”
“Aravot” condemns Monday’s attack on a group of young activists of Ter-Petrosian’s Armenian National Congress (HAK) who campaigned for the Yerevan elections. “These thugs meddling in political processes are not acting on their own,” editorializes the paper. “It is clearly being guided and serves as a political tool. These politicized thugs are usually grouped around municipal districts. Their activities are certainly not confined to beating up people.”