“Zhamanak” says Prime Minister Tigran Sarkisian’s opening remarks during Thursday’s cabinet session resembled “a simple pre-election speech.” “The authorities are clearly taking a number of pre-election socioeconomic steps,” writes the paper. “They are going to subsidize diesel fuel for farmers’, exempt the IT sector from profit tax and try to give low-income classes more education opportunities … On the face of it there is nothing bad here. Pre-election populism is characteristic of all countries, all governments, all political forces. But it’s worth recalling that the Armenian government plans to collect more than 100 billion drams in additional revenues in accordance with its 2012 budget.” The pro-opposition daily alleges that this extra money is meant to finance the authorities’ election campaign.
“It can be asserted for certain that in the unfolding election campaign the authorities’ main tool will be the use of state resources for the victory of the [ruling] HHK,” writes “Yerkir.” “Although the 2012 state budget was passed less than two months ago Sarkisian is only now, at the start of the campaign, revealing several programs to raise living standards of socially vulnerable groups of the population. They require huge funding in the amount of about 100 billion drams.”
“Hayots Ashkhar” rejects opposition calls for the deployment of a large number international observers for the May parliamentary elections. “We just can’t understand why somebody should evaluate the quality of our elections,” comments the pro-government paper. “It’s our problem … We don’t need observers for the elections.” It says their presence will be “dangerous” for the country. “Is there a single person who thinks that the coalition will not win a majority of votes in the elections? The answer is obvious. There is a lot of concern that the observers could become a tool for de-legitimizing the elections.”
“They may talk about clean elections, pretend that their only dream is to stay loyal to democratic values,” writes “Hraparak.” “They may swear that the Electoral Code will not be violated. But that doesn’t mean the elections will be handled properly. Furthermore, all the signs today testify to unequal conditions, unfair competition and pre-election abuses. After all, elections are not just voting but a huge process that has to be completely clean.”