“Zhamanak” reports that a local government official in Yerevan has been arrested on suspicion of electoral fraud committed during Sunday’s constitutional referendum. The paper says it remains to be seen whether this arrest is just a publicity stunt designed to deflect public attention from many other reported irregularities. It notes that President Serzh Sarkisian told law-enforcement authorities to investigate all fraud allegations in earnest when he met with his political allies and senior state officials on Monday.
“Hraparak” claims that Armenian political groups which have strongly supported the constitutional reform and said all along that Sarkisian’s Republican Party (HHK) will not win a parliamentary majority in the 2017 elections are now shocked by the official referendum results. The paper says the HHK has demonstrated that its vote-rigging machine can cook up any election result.
“Chorrord Ishkhanutyun” quotes Minister for Local Government and Emergency Situations Armen Yeritsian as saying the fact that in many Armenian communities the official results showed a “No” vote against Sarkisian’s constitutional changes only proves that the referendum was not rigged. The paper scoffs at this argument. “According that logic, no man can be charged with rape because there will definitely be some women who he has not raped,” says the paper.
“Zhoghovurd” comments on the official launch in Brussels of negotiations on a new agreement to deepen Armenia’s political and economic relations with the European Union. “It is difficult to tell at this point how long this process will last and what its result will be,” the paper says, pointing to President Sarkisian’s unexpected decision in 2013 to join the Russian-led Eurasian Economic Union. “But the very fact that European integration is again becoming an Armenian foreign policy priority is a quite positive development in itself,” it says. “At least in terms of diversifying our foreign dealings.”