“168 Zham” reports on the passage of Armenia’s new Electoral Code strongly criticized by the opposition but portrayed by the government as a major boost to the proper conduct of next year’s Armenian parliamentary elections. “As always, both the authorities and the opposition are far from reality because even with the world’s best electoral code it is impossible to hold free and fair elections unless there is a political will,” writes the paper. “Conversely, one can hold the freest and fairest elections in the world even with a less than perfect electoral code if all political entities -- and the government in the first instance -- have not only the will but also courage needed for that.”
“Zhamanak” is highly skeptical about the code’s impact, saying that the parliamentary elections due in April 2017 are unlikely to be democratic. The paper claims that President Serzh Sarkisian has ensured U.S. and European Union support for not only the code but also “reproduction” of his Republican Party’s power.
“Chorrord Ishkhanutyun” says most Armenians do not trust in the government’s latest pledges to combat corruption. The authorities, for their part, say that the problem cannot be eliminated very quickly and that they need public support to tackle it. “When looked at separately, they all seem to be right,” comments the paper. “The trouble is that there are still no results.”