“Haykakan Zhamanak” reports that neither the pro-government nor opposition parties have so far used free advertising space for the upcoming constitutional referendum that has been set aside by municipal authorities in Yerevan. This is construed by the paper as a further indication that the Armenian authorities are in no mood to convince ordinary voters to back their constitutional changes and will continue to heavily rely on vote rigging. As for opponents of President Serzh Sarkisian’s constitutional reform, the paper says they are demonstrating that they are “poor fighters.”
“Chorrord Ishkhanutyun” says that Sarkisian is trying to woo Armenia’s security apparatus ahead of the December 6 referendum. The paper argues that the Armenian government plans to allocate next year more budgetary funds to the Armenian police and National Security Service (NSS). “By contrast, the authorities are not going to raise pensions and poverty benefits next year even though they expect an inflation rate of 4 percent ,” it says.
“Asparez” comments on a controversial government decision to allow Armenians to vote in the upcoming referendum after producing plastic ID cards, rather than national passports. The Gyumri-based paper says that it is aimed at facilitating multiple fraudulent voting in favor of the proposed constitutional amendments.
“Zhoghovurd” echoes this claim. “Experience has shown that the authorities rig election results with all possible means, while law-enforcers make life easier for falsifiers, instead of combating falsifications” writes the paper.
However, Hovannes Sahakian, a senior lawmaker from the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK), assures “Hraparak” that the authorities have no plans to rig the referendum. He claims that government officials, HHK parliamentarians and other government loyalists will not be punished by Sarkisian if they fail to ensure “Yes” votes in their constituencies.
“Zhamanak” comments on the 16th anniversary of a terrorist attack on the Armenian parliament that left its speaker Karen Demirchian, Prime Minister Vazgen Sarkisian and six other officials dead. “Learning lessons from terrorist acts against the state means not allowing gunshots, theft, abuses and corruption and not surrendering the state’s sovereignty,” writes the paper. “If such things are allowed to happen and the gravity of crimes against the state is measured by blood but not by the scale of the loot, bloodshed becomes only a matter of time. Such practices are what eventually lead to bloodshed.”