(Saturday, January 21)
“Chorrord Inknishkhanutyun” says the Armenian opposition rightly claims that the state budget can be doubled if the authorities shrink the informal sector of the economy and collect more taxes from the mining industry. “The current authorities won’t do that not because they don’t understand but because they pocket that money … It is this money that eminent government figures are fighting for,” claims the opposition daily.
“Yerkir” continues to argue for the abolition of parliamentary elections held in single-mandate electoral districts. The paper says that pro-government candidates running for parliament in those districts always get the official green light to steal or buy votes so long as they also contribute to the victory of the ruling party in parallel polls held under the system of proportional representation. “As a result, in the country’s 2,000 or so precincts between 200,000 and 400,000 ballots are cast on behalf of dead persons, people who are absent from Armenia or do not take part in elections,” it says. “As a result, the ruling political forces gets not only ‘the overwhelming majority’ of votes but also 41 rubber-stamping ‘loyalists’ who owe their parliament mandates to the ‘boss’ and are dependent on him.”
“In essence, [Armenian] elections do not reflect voting itself,” Ashot Zakarian, head of the Gyumri branch of the opposition Armenian National Congress (HAK), tells “Haykakan Zhamanak.” “I am far from thinking that something can be changed in Armenia by means of elections.” He says he therefore thinks that the HAK should only use elections for carrying out a revolution in Armenia. “In that regard, the Congress has not yet formulated an official position. It has only stated that we will contest the elections and do everything to get the maximum result,” adds Zakarian.
In an interview with “Hayots Ashkhar,” Artak Davtian, a parliament deputy from the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK), speaks of “serious losses” which he says have been suffered by the HAK of late. “A number of well-known public figures, disagreeing with the HAK’s policy and work style, have chosen to act on their own, and [the HAK] has lost the trust of a considerable part of its supporters,” says Davtian. He claims that HAK leaders are already trying to rationalize their “modest performance” in the upcoming parliamentary elections. “They will try to escalate the situation, split the society and make a fuss after the elections,” he says.