“Haykakan Zhamanak” dismisses Yerevan Mayor Taron Markarian’s argument that he cannot stop the construction of kiosks in a public park because that would violate their owners’ constitutionally guaranteed property rights. The paper says the authorities ignored those rights when they displaced hundreds of families in downtown Yerevan during former President Robert Kocharian’s rule. “Incidentally, those actions were subsequently declared unconstitutional by the Constitutional Court,” it says. “But since they were done kicking people out of their homes the situation did not really change.”
“Hayots Ashkhar” says “administrative resources,” money and a shrewd PR campaign are not enough to win the upcoming parliamentary elections. “Of course, these are all necessary components of the recipe for success but one should not forget that a lot depends on whether the main election theme song is guessed correctly,” writes the paper. “He who guesses the melody, namely voters’ mood, correctly will gain a serious advantage,” it says.
“Yerkir” says it is already evident that most “oligarchs” keen to enter the next National Assembly will run in single-mandate constituencies. Given these circumstances, the paper wonders if the authorities are serious about their pledges to separate business from politics. It says the oligarchs’ participation in the May elections would mean that “the state authority is powerless against the oligarchy.”
“Irates de facto” quotes Armen Martirosian, a leader of the opposition Zharangutyun (Heritage) party as saying he sees a huge difference between the last and next Armenian parliamentary elections. “The society has quite matured since March 1 [2008,]” he says. “On top of that, public and civic groups have become more active. Social networks have become powerful sources of information. Also, the socioeconomic situation has worsened since 2007. A country with a 40 percent poverty rate just can’t love the government.”
“Zhamanak” questions former Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian’s claims that the ruling Republican (HHK) and Prosperous Armenia (HHK) parties are no longer bound by their power-sharing agreements. The paper argues that the BHK is in no rush to pull out of the ruling coalition. “The BHK remains in the coalition not because, as Oskanian claims, it will be fighting for free elections but will simply to get its share of a rigged election with its government resources,” it claims.