“Aravot” sees “negative trends in the intellectual capabilities of our society and its politically active segment in particular.” “In 1993-1995 the authorities and the opposition took a more serious approach to the creation of the constitution than they do now with respect to its change,” explains the paper. It recalls that the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun) and several other parties that were in opposition to Armenia’s former leadership came up with their own draft constitutions a decade ago. Furthermore, they actively cooperated with the late Vladimir Nazarian, one of the authors of the existing constitution.
“Aravot” also editorializes that the opposition has made three mistake in the constitutional reform process. “Refusing to engage in substantive constitutional discussions and replacing them by traditional calls for regime change is wrong. Calling for a boycott rather than a ‘no’ vote is wrong. After all, that too is a sign of having nothing to say. And finally, recalling representatives from electoral commissions is wrong. It will facilitate vote rigging.”
“Hayots Ashkhar” says the “revolutionary, offensive tactic” of the Artarutyun alliance contrasts with opposition leader Artashes Geghamian’s decision to “play, as always, his own game.” The paper says Geghamian wants to save his National Unity Party from it what it says is an inevitable opposition defeat.
“Hayastani Hanrapetutyun” assures readers that the constitutional amendments are not imposed on Armenia by the Europeans. The paper says Armenia willingly committed itself to meeting European standards for democracy and rule of law. It says “legal norms and principles envisaged by European conventions and treaties” must therefore form the basis of the Armenian state.
Levon Zurabian, a political scientist and ex-President Levon Ter-Petrosian’s former spokesman, tells “Aravot” that the authorities’ constitutional draft contains “numerous positive provisions.” Zurabian points to amendments that would allow ordinary citizens to appeal to the Constitutional Court and strengthen the independence of Armenia’s human rights ombudsperson. “But the thing is that its shortcomings are so dangerous that they outweigh all of these good ideas,” Zurabian adds. “The key question is whether the adoption of these changes would make Armenia more democratic. I think that in the existing situation the adoption of this draft would only reinforce the undemocratic, corrupt and oligarchic political system.”