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Press Review


“Zhamanak” says that judging from his newly publicized constitutional package, President Serzh Sarkisian is intent on leaving only two major political parties in the Armenian political arena. The paper points to a draft amendment providing for a second round of parliamentary elections between the two top election contenders. It says that the Sarkisian administration remains adamant in keeping this provision despite criticism from not only the Armenian opposition but also the Council of Europe’s Venice Commission.

“If the Armenian authorities have decided to change the country’s system of government and push through the new constitutional draft, nothing will prevent them from doing that,” “Hraparak” writes in an editorial. The paper says they have enough administrative and financial resources to secure a desired outcome of the upcoming referendum. It says the referendum will happen “much more smoothly” than a similar vote that was organized in 2005 by then President Robert Kocharian. “And international bodies will recognize the referendum results and note ‘one step forward’ [taken by Armenia,]” predicts the paper.

“Haykakan Zhamanak” denounces Armenian prosecutors for seeking a 14-year prison sentence for a man who fired gunshots towards police officers in late 2013 during the politically charged trial of other anti-government activists. The paper says that Hayk Kyureghian’s ongoing separate trial is so “absurd” that he has not been even able to attend it. “There are also some positive elements here because it is very likely that the European Court of Human Rights will strike down a verdict to be delivered in these circumstances,” it says. “On the other hand, the Kyureghian case gives our unfair, to put it mildly, judicial system elements of barbarity.”

“No Armenian government has ever called into question Armenia’s strategic relations with Russia,” writes “Aravot.” “But that, as we can see, is not enough for Armenia to avoid nonstop blackmail and pressure by Russia through various Russian and Armenian figures. Such statements … only cause further damage to Russian-Armenian relations and raise questions about the strength of those relations and mutual trust and sincerity.”

“Chorrord Ishkhanutyun” reports that a headmistress who was convicted of corruption two years ago has been reinstated as head of a school in Yerevan. Ruzanna Sargsian’s reappointment on Wednesday was backed by most teachers working there. The paper finds the development very symbolic, saying that Sargsian will be regarded by top government officials as “one of their own.” “Besides, the school principle with such skills will educate a generation prepared for surviving in Armenia’s existing environment,” it says tartly.

(Tigran Avetisian)

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