“I don’t think that falsifying elections has anything to do with the mentality of any nation,” the head of the OSCE observers, Peter Eicher, tells “Orran,” commenting on controversial post-election remarks by Defense Minister Serzh Sarkisian.
Also disagreeing with Sarkisian is the head of a Council of Europe office in Yerevan, Natalia Vutova. “For us the most important thing is not to punish any country to cause it severe consequences, but to support that country and help it move along the path of democracy,” Vutova tells “Haykakan Zhamanak.”
“Kocharian has again managed to become a president thanks to his team’s dirty tricks and falsifications and thanks to the full use of administrative resources,” editorializes “Aravot.” “After that it is difficult to accuse the opposition of undermining the country’s stability for its own interests. If you start looking for the main destabilizing factor, you willy-nilly point the finger at the country’s number one figure, the guarantor of democratic rule.” Even if the opposition stops crying foul and newspaper stop writing about electoral fraud, the political situation in Armenia will not stabilize, the paper concludes.
According to “Haykakan Zhamanak,” the reason why the Armenian opposition parties are now easily reaching agreement on just about any issue is that they no longer have Artashes Geghamian and Ashot Manucharian on board.
“Hayastani Hanrapetutyun,” on the other hand, accuses the opposition of seeking to “violate the constitution” and “tarnish the country’s reputation.” The government-controlled paper says the opposition leaders must be “grateful” to the pro-Kocharian media for not attacking them more heavily.
In an interview with “Hayots Ashkhar,” Dashnaktsutyun leader Vahan Hovannisian insists that irregularities in the presidential election were not serious, but says the authorities should learn major lessons from the presidential race. Hovannisian is specifically concerned that candidates from various political parties will not be able to compete with “money bags” in the upcoming parliamentary elections. He hints that President Kocharian should put the brakes on businessmen’s political ambitions. He says “whole villages” are already selling their votes to wealthy candidates.
Similar fears are voiced by another prominent Dashnaktsutyun member, presidential adviser Razmik Davoyan. In an interview with “Hayots Ashkhar,” Davoyan says that vote buying is becoming a “virus” in Armenia. He also complains that well known intellectuals do not get all due respect from ordinary people and the government.
But as literature translator Samvel Mkrtchian tells “Orran,” they should only blame themselves for that. “In normal countries, a creative person always opposes the authorities to keep them vigilant, whereas many here sell themselves with pleasure because they have neither alternatives nor a talent to create,” he says. “In our country, the so-called ‘intellectuals’ have only been trained to approach [the government’s] feeding trough. Once again the Karabakh clan has won with the help of mobsters, and those ‘intellectuals’ have sided with mobsters and thugs.”