In an editorial, “Hayots Ashkhar” lambastes the OSCE and the Council of Europe for “teaching [Armenia] how to live, write laws, hold elections.” The pro-presidential paper specifically denounces the head of the OSCE-led monitoring mission, Peter Eicher, for concluding that the Armenian presidential elections fell short of international standards. “Who is asking his opinion? It’s our country. We live the way we want…The world must not expect from us some super-natural things. One can look at Europe as much as possible and try to imitate it in everything.” But, the paper says, a peculiar “national mentality” will long prevent Armenians from achieving European standards.
“Hayastani Hanrapetutyun” attacks the Armenian opposition for “splitting the society” and “discrediting their own country in the eyes of the international community” instead of accepting its defeat “with dignity.”
“Azg” thinks that the opposition is stoking tensions in preparation for the May parliamentary elections. “They need to keep up the momentum and tension at any cost. Only the authorities would suffer from that. They would become more distrusted, which would make the reelected president’s matters more difficult and perhaps create an opportune moment for dealing a deadly blow,” the paper writes.
“Yerkir” comments that even if some of the fraud allegations are true, they could not have affected the outcome of the election. The weekly paper assures readers that “everyone has won” the ballot.
But as “Iravunk” writes, the irregularities reported during the presidential run-off “exceeded the most pessimistic expectations.” “The falsification of the elections by several hundred thousand votes can be considered to be as undisputed as the color of sour cream.” The paper says the huge victory margin given to Kocharian by the Central Election Commission is “a psychological ploy aimed at reinforcing the myth about the impossibility of a regime change.” “But the country does not have resources for being a real dictatorship,” the paper adds, predicting that Armenia will suffer a “serious economic isolation due to Kocharian’s drive to stay in power at any cost.” “he [local] oligarchs have spent huge resources on keeping Kocharian in power. In order to recoup them they will force him to expand the boundary of their de facto [business] privileges, which will again hit hard the country’s budget.” Kocharian will also face strong pressure from “60,000 or so criminal and semi-criminal elements” which “Iravunk” says also greatly contributed to his reelection.
“Orran” says Kocharian has scored a “victory over democracy and the people.” “It became evident on March 5 that the current authorities and the people are completely incompatible. In such circumstances, one of the two must leave the arena.”
“You can’t pretend to embrace European values but act like an Asian dictator in real life,” writes “Aravot.” “Let Kocharian quickly contact his Belarusian counterpart [Aleksandr] Lukashenko who has rich experience with fighting against European organizations. In particular, he had expelled OSCE observers from Belarus. True, European doors closed for Lukashenko after that. But in any case, he remained a president, didn’t he?”