(Saturday, December 12)
“Zhoghovurd” regards as “quite telling” the fact that Armenian law-enforcement authorities have so far opened only 14 criminal cases after receiving more than 400 reports of alleged fraud in the December 6 constitutional referendum. “The fact that Armenian law-enforcers have always sponsored and, at times, assisted vote falsifiers has long been well known,” the paper writes in a commentary on Prosecutor-General Gevorg Kostanian’s latest news conference. This is why, it says, nobody has ever been seriously punished for electoral crimes in Armenia.
“Regardless of the course of the December 6 referendum and the legitimacy of its results, Armenia has found itself in a new situation and will now live with a new agenda,” writes “168 Zham.” “That agenda will not be conditioned by the appeals lodged against the referendum results or other opposition actions for the simple reason that opposition does not exist in that sense. The number one issue on that political agenda is the adoption of a new Electoral Code in May 2016 at the latest -- one year before the [parliamentary] elections. And starting in May, Armenia will enter into a pre-election period.”
“Today, in the aftermath of the disgraceful referendum, it might seem that the authorities are invincible and that the [ruling] HHK’s victory in the upcoming parliamentary elections is a forgone conclusion,” continues “168 Zham.” But one and a half years … is enough time for the formation of new opposition, regrouping of existing forces and launch of a serious fight against the authorities.”
“Haykakan Zhamanak” notes that under an agreement signed in December 2013 the price of Russian natural delivered to Armenia is tied to the gas tariff existing in Russia’s Orenburg region. “Namely, if gas becomes cheaper in Orenburg it must also become cheaper for Armenia,” explains the paper. It argues that the Orenburg tariff is set in Russian rubles, whereas Armenia pays for Russian gas with U.S. dollars. This is why, it says, the sharp depreciation of the Russian currency since June 2014 should presumably slash the gas price for Armenia from $165 to $110 per thousand cubic meters. The paper quotes the press office of the Armenian Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources as saying in this regard that Armenian and Russian officials are now “holding negotiations on the further price of the gas.”