“Zhamanak” suggests that the contents of the draft Electoral Code presented by the government prompt that the current authorities have serious problems in terms of “reproducing” themselves during the next parliamentary elections. “That’s why there are provisions that amount to openly declaring that ‘we have decided to rig the election’,” the paper writes. “The current government’s public approval rating is the lowest… Add to this the heavy social and economic situation, and it becomes clear that the current government has no way [to retain power] other than rigging the vote. The question is how far the opposition will allow the authorities to do that.”
“Chorrord Ishkhanutyun” quotes ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK) lawmaker Hovannes Sahakian as saying that the authorities do not want to assume the obligation of live video recording at polling stations on election days because “if the videoing is disrupted by a couple of minutes it will be used as an occasion for a big row”. The paper comments: “In fact, for the HHK lawmaker it is not important whether this step will promote a more transparent ballot or not, it is more important for him that the opposition should have nothing to complain about.” It says that following the same logic there should not be electricity at polling stations either.
Lragir.am reports that the government is going to allocate from its reserve funds more than $1.2 million to the Armenian Railways company as compensation for military shipments and services rendered at railway stations in the fourth quarter of 2015. In other words, the news website explains, Armenian taxpayers will cover the travel expenses of the Russian troops stationed in Armenia. “This is, perhaps, a situation that has no parallel in the world. Normally, it is the country that deploys a military base in foreign soil that pays to the host. But this is just another peculiarity of Russian-Armenian ‘strategic partnership’,” it comments.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” comments on the news that the U.S. state of Georgia has recognized the independence of Nagorno-Karabakh. It predicts that it won’t be the last such step this year. The paper quotes David Babayan, the spokesperson for the Karabakh leader, as saying that “interesting developments are expected in the direction of the international recognition of Nagorno-Karabakh’s independence in 2016.”