“As much as a Yes vote in the constitutional referendum seems guaranteed, the authorities’ worries are visible,” writes “Hraparak.” It points to the fact that the Yes campaign for the December 6 vote will be led by Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamian and will involve many other senior government officials. “Not to mention daily fiery speeches and news conferences by representatives of the [ruling] HHK,” says the paper. “It is already evident that all [government] levers will be used.”
“The HHK will launch its active campaign on November 1,” reports “Chorrord Ishkhanutyun.” “Concrete vote targets have already been set for all ‘overseers’ of the country’s provinces. But one question is still unanswered: the size of a vote bribe. In this sense, the referendum is different from presidential or parliamentary elections because it seems to have no concrete beneficiaries. Therefore, the overseers will hardly agree to pay [vote bribes] from their own pockets.” The pro-opposition paper claims that the ruling regime needs at least 6 billion drams ($12.8 million) for organizing a large-scale vote-buying and vote-rigging operation.
“That the number of [officially registered] voters is inflated is a fact,” Artashes Boyajian, a political commentator, tells “Asparez.” He predicts a widespread and aggressive use of government resources by the Yes campaign. “I don’t know if that will be bribes, intimidation or requests,” he says.
“It is now obvious that Armenia has become more vulnerable in terms of both security and other things,” claims “Zhamanak.” “The most worrisome thing is that there is no end in sight to this process.” The paper complains that instead of confronting serious economic and security challenges facing Armenia, the government is now focusing its energy and resources on the controversial constitutional reform.
“Zhoghovurd” reports that 85 mostly pro-Armenian members of the U.S. House of Representatives have signed a letter calling on the U.S. administration to seek international investigations of ceasefire violations in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone. The paper says that despite Azerbaijan’s continuing rejection of this idea, the U.S., Russian and French co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group remain unwilling to blame Baku for the tense situation on the frontlines. “Fortunately, the U.S. approach to this matter seems to be changing,” it says, pointing to the U.S. lawmakers’ letter addressed to James Warlick, Washington’s chief Karabakh negotiator.