(Saturday, May 25)
“Haykakan Zhamanak” quotes a member of the presidential commission on constitutional reform, Vartan Poghosian, as saying that Armenia’s president will no longer be elected by a popular vote if the country is transformed into a parliamentary republic. In that case, Poghosian tells the paper, the president will be picked by the Armenian parliament or a special electoral college that would also comprise members of the Armenian Diaspora. But he stresses that the commission has not yet made a final decision on this yet.
“Zhamanak” speculates that the commission will not draft concrete amendments on the government system until there is full consensus on the issue within Armenia’s ruling elite. The paper claims that President Serzh Sarkisian also has to “agree” his reform plans with Russia, the United States and the European Union.
In an editorial, “Hraparak” deplores the fact that government-backed candidates are running unopposed in the upcoming mayoral elections that will be held in two Armenian towns: Artashat and Alaverdi. The paper accuses the Armenian authorities of forcibly “depriving voters of an alternative” and thereby predetermining election results. It also faults ordinary Armenians for “surrendering” in the face of such pressure.
“Hayots Ashkhar” asks various lawyers to comment on Prosecutor-General Gevorg Kostanian’s pledges to fight against “impunity” in Armenia, which he made during a speech in the National Assembly. “If there is really an intention to end impunity in Armenia then they must get rid of sponsorship of criminals and start that effort from [Syunik Governor] Surik Khachatrian,” one legal expert, Ara Ghazarian, tells the paper. Hayk Alumian, a defense lawyer in a high-profile murder case involving the Khachatrian family, says in this regard that law-enforcement authorities investigating the murder are doing everything to protect the governor and his notorious son.