“168 Zham” says the parliamentary election campaign has taken place in a “traditional” Armenian way. “The most important change observed during this campaign has been a relatively equal access to the TV airwaves enjoyed by all political forces,” editorializes the paper. “As was the case in the past, the main theme of this campaign has been vote bribes, fraud and the need to fight against them. So once again we are holding elections with a sense that they will be rigged.”
“The election campaign is perhaps the only occasion driving Yerevan residents to the regions,” writes “Hraparak.” “They remember the village only when they need the villager’s vote. And so the flow of apostles to villages begins. Many people, from the country’s president to oligarchs looking at the world through the windscreen of a Bentley or Lexus, hit the drab and derelict rural roads these days … They brainwash poor villagers with their lackluster speeches and unrealistic promises, sometimes listen to their grievances and return to the capital.”
“Vote buying happens not only in the form of cash,” writes “Yerkir.” “It’s also about repairing courtyards, paving streets -- things that our local authorities are obliged to do. But they do that only from election to election, presenting that as a good will. Do we have to elect those who tidy up our courtyards? No.” The paper claims that vote buying has become an unwritten law in the country.
“Aravot” editor Aram Abrahamian reveals the registration of an unknown voter at his home address in Yerevan. “I wonder how she was placed on the voter list,” he says. “For three weeks political forces and the police have assured us that they are going house to house, verifying and cleaning the lists. But I am becoming more and more convinced that they are all lazy and are strong only when it comes to talking. Are they pinning their hopes on citizens who will not only look for their names on the corresponding list but also examine who is registered at their addresses?”