“The public has not witnessed serious political and public debates,” “Zhamanak” writes in a commentary on the local election campaign in Yerevan which is drawing to a close. “Of course the ruling HHK is greatly responsible for this in the sense that the ruling party has categorically refused debates [with opposition contenders.] A key task in a pre-election period is to show the public the difference between the authorities and alternative forces. On the other hand, the HHK’s refusal to participate in debates cannot be used as an excuse by the other political forces.” The paper points the finger at Gagik Tsarukian’s Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK), saying that it has dodged debates thanks to a “skillful” tactic and support from the opposition Armenian National Congress (HAK).
“The Republicans are still not able to clearly explain where [Yerevan Mayor] Taron Markarian has obtained so many assets from,” writes “Chorrord Inknishkhanutyun.” “At issue is not Taron Markarian’s fortune. After all, there are people in the HHK elite who give their hairdressers tips worth Taron’s fortune. The main thing is the authorities’ attitude to this issue. For instance, after trying to answer that question and spending some time on deliberations [the HHK’s] Galust Sahakian declared that if he were the prosecutor-general he would revive all previous cases and show how factories were plundered, how some people became rich and so on.”
“He presumably meant the years of Levon Ter-Petrosian’s rule because he made that statement in response to the HAK petition,” continues “Chorrord Inknishkhanutyun.” “What is not clear is why he made only a verbal statement. The HHK is a ruling party. The country’s president, who incidentally appoints the prosecutor-general, is the HHK’s leader. So instead of that statement the ruling party could have simply instructed the prosecutor-general to bring up all [Ter-Petrosian-era] cases. Why are the authorities not doing that? Because in that case it would very quickly emerge that some of the looters left Armenia long ago while others have long been members of the HHK, occupy pivotal positions in various areas and serve Serzh Sarkisian’s main power base.”
Interviewed by “Hayots Ashkhar,” Tigran Mukuchian, the chairman of the Central Election Commission (CEC), echoes police denials of opposition allegations that scores of provincial residents have been registered to vote for the HHK in Sunday’s municipal elections in Yerevan. Mukuchian challenges the opposition to come up with “concrete facts testifying to that.” “There is probably no other country in the world where voter lists can be downloaded from the Internet,” he says.