“Aravot” comments on allegations by Spartak Yeghiazarian, chairman of the electoral commission in a big Armenian village, that the 2003 presidential election was rigged on an enormous scale. “In another country or circumstances that would be deemed sensational,” editorializes the paper. “But in this case, that is not a sensation because everybody in Armenia, from Robert Kocharian to street cleaners, has no doubts that this is how it all happened. Not only in that but also every other precinct. If our prosecution is smart enough it will report to the Council of Europe that it has at last punished election riggers.”
“Aravot” says in a separate report that Yeghiazarian was summoned to the Office of the Prosecutor-General for questioning on Monday.
According to “Haykakan Zhamanak,” prosecutors are considering launching criminal proceedings against the official.
“Iravunk” says renewed fighting in Nagorno-Karabakh is not impossible at this juncture. The paper argues that under the Armenian constitution, the presidential election of 2008 can be postponed indefinitely if Armenia is at war with one of its neighbors.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” notes that only journalists working for media outlets controlled by Kocharian have been able to put questions to the Armenian president since May 2005. “Naturally, answers [to those questions] come in the form of speeches; he says what he wants. But if he talks to all media, he could get tough questions.” The paper alleges that the presidential administration is violating Armenia’s constitution and law on mass media to “keep Kocharian immune to undesirable questions.”
“168 Zham” reports that one of its reporters received threats from Hovannes Varian, the controversial deputy chief of the Armenian police, during a weekend official ceremony that marked Armenia’s Police Day. “What are you writing about me in your paper?” Varian is quoted as asking the reporter. “Who are you writing against? Aren’t you scared? Who is it who invites me to a dark forest? Let him invite. I’ll tear off his leg.”
“168 Zham” also says the National Security Service is now investigating the “shady” activities of its former boss, Karlos Petrosian. “Our sources do not rule out his arrest,” says the paper.
Answering questions from “Iravunk” readers, opposition leader Vazgen Manukian looks at reasons for the “weakening” of the Armenian opposition. That is not only down to the conflicting ambitions of various opposition leaders, according to Manukian. “There has really emerged a new situation where it is very difficult to make decisions on what path to follow, how to make the people rise up and how to achieve victory,” he says.