(Saturday, October 10)
“168 Zham” says that in the two months or so remaining until the referendum on Armenia’s constitutional amendments supporters and critics of the controversial changes will insist on diametrically opposite things. “Those campaigning for the changes will promise that it’ll make Armenia a paradisiacal country, while those opposing them will claim that, if passed, they will turn Armenia into hell. Naturally, none of these statements will correspond to the reality… The reality is somewhere in the middle of these two extremes and is based on the long-established fact that the problem in Armenia is not in the Constitution or laws, but in their poor implementation.”
“Zhoghovurd” observes that while President Serzh Sarkisian has been able to achieve political consolidation around the “Yes” campaign in the upcoming constitutional referendum, the opposition camp has so far been unable to ensure such consolidation around the so-called “No” front. The paper says that several “fronts” have been organized by civic groups and opposition parties to fight against the constitutional amendments, while some groups that are against the changes prefer to act outside the format of these “fronts”. “Now, there is a question again in society: what is it that prevents these groups from consolidating with one single format and passing from words to action?... Otherwise, it turns out that all these “fronts”, willy-nilly, are playing into the hands of the government.”
“Chorrord Ishkhanutyun” voices skepticism over the statement of a leading member of the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK) that the party will do everything for the referendum on constitutional amendments to be transparent and take place at the highest possible level. “It is strange that such a statement is being made by a party that stubbornly refuses to publish the list of voters who go to the polls in elections,” the paper notes.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” reports that on Friday the government of Armenia endorsed a new draft tax code, which, it notes, is the “constitution” of the economy: “It is remarkable that before the day of the government’s sitting the draft of this tax code has not been published anywhere and was put on the agenda on the day of the sitting, minutes before it. The logic prompts that before government endorsement there should have been some discussion and then discussions should also unfold before [the tax code’s] adoption by the National Assembly. Maybe the government will decide that discussions should be held after the tax code’s adoption in parliament? This much is perhaps enough to state that nothing good should be expected from this tax code.”
The editor of “Aravot” writes: “During the recent parliamentary session when the National Commission on Television and Radio presented its report opposition figures complained that they never get invited to speak on the Public Television Channel. There is, of course, this problem, but it is not that acute as it was 10 or 15 years ago. I am sure that there are some restrictions. But they are not as strict and imperative as in the past. And if we compare today’s news program on Public TV and that during [former president Robert] Kocharian’s time in office, then it is not difficult to notice that then they lashed out at the opposition, but now they simply do not speak about it.”