“If you haven’t noticed that yesterday you woke up in a more democratic country free of corruption and with an independent judiciary and an honest government, then you are very inattentive or blind,” “168 Zham” writes in a scathing editorial on Armenia’s constitutional referendum. “The victory of the ‘Yes’ vote was crushing in both direct and figurative senses because on Sunday the authorities crushed all of their promises about fair elections, using much more elaborate and honed methods of fraud than in all previous elections.”
“Haykakan Zhamanak” finds extremely suspicious diametrically opposite official referendum results in some neighboring precincts in Yerevan. “No pollster, sociologist or political scientists can explain why ‘No’ votes were twice as numerous as ‘Yes’ votes among people living on the right side of a street while on the left side there were four times as many ‘Yes’ votes as ‘No’ votes,” writes the paper. It sees only one explanation for this striking disparity: the referendum results were rigged in the latter precinct.
“Just because your falsifiers duly carry out your orders does not mean that you have won,” “Hraparak” says, appealing to the Armenian authorities. The paper says the official outcome of the referendum did not address any of the grave challenges facing Armenia. “The people’s despair and low living standards are your defeat,” it says. “Their lack of faith in the future is your defeat.”
“All elections in Armenia follow the same principle,” writes “Chorrord Ishkhanutyun.” “The group of people has no problem because it manages to use its resources very efficiently. The opposition, however, fails to do the same. In Yerevan, at least 200,000 people said No to the constitutional changes, but only up to 1 percent of them attend [post-referendum] opposition rallies. Why? Because those people do not believe in a fight through rallies or its leaders.”
“Zhamanak” says the constitutional referendum exposed a “political crisis” existing in Armenia. “Lacking a government representing their interests and having no possibility of forming a government representing its interests, the society has also been deprived of an opposition representing its interests,” writes the paper. “This situation will persist until a new opposition … emerges in Armenia.”