“Zhamanak” scoffs at plans by the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK) to open a “political school” for its members and supporters. “The HHK and school are definitely inherently incompatible concepts,” writes the paper. “We have arrived at such a conclusion after seeing what the HHK has done to Armenia’s schools during its nearly 20-year-long presence in government.” It says that the party headed by President Serzh Sarkisian has turned schools into hotbeds of electoral fraud and political corruption.
“Zhoghovurd” similarly says that the HHK has already turned virtually all Armenian state universities into “party schools.” The paper argues that the university boards are headed by senior HHK figures seeking to brainwash and spread partisan propaganda among professors and students. “Let’s hope that the creation of the HHK-run school will ease the degree of the ‘Republicanization’ of our universities and that young people affiliated with the HHK will become more politically educated,” it says mockingly.
“Hraparak” reports that Armenian political parties are anxiously awaiting a preliminary evaluation of the government’s draft Electoral Code which is due to be made by the Council of Europe’s Venice Commission. “The written conclusion will come before a commission meeting due in the beginning of June because the code has to be passed before June 1,” says the paper. It says Armenian opposition parties are hopeful that the Venice Commission will back major changes in the code that are sought by them. The most important of those changes is the mandatory post-election publication of the names of those eligible voters who cast ballots. The measure opposed by the government and the HHK is meant to preclude multiple voting. The Venice Commission has objected to the proposed anti-fraud safeguard in the past.
“Chorrord Ishkhanutyun” says that Suren Khachatrian, the notorious governor of Armenia’s Syunik province, has reported a sharp drop in his personal income last year in a declaration filed with an anti-corruption state body. Khachatrian claimed to have earned 70 million drams ($145,000) in 2015, down from 215 million drams in 2014. “Suren Khachatrian got into trouble on several occasions in 2015,” says the paper. It speculates that he might have used his wealth to avoid prosecution for those incidents.