“Chorrord Ishkhanutyun” reiterates its strong condemnation of the constitutional reform process initiated by President Serzh Sarkisian, saying that it is accompanied by “widespread fraud.” “Political players have gotten so carried away that they are thinking of only one thing: how to skillfully deceive the people,” writes the pro-opposition paper. It says that none of the Armenian parties supporting Sarkisian’s draft constitutional amendments is publicly stating that he is a good president who deserves to stay in power after 2018. “And these forces are saying yes to his reproduction. This is the most disgraceful thing,” it says.
“Zhoghovurd” says that Sarkisian has already succeeded in using the constitutional reform to neutralize his most formidable political opponent: Gagik Tsarukian and his Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK). “And now, despite the existence of many problems in the country requiring urgent solutions, the new constitution and efforts to scuttle or put it into practice are at the center of everyone’s attention,” writes the paper. It claims that the proponents and opponents of the reform will waste “tremendous resources” on this “false agenda.” Those resources should be used for more urgent needs, according to “Zhoghovurd.”
Speaking to “Zhamanak,” a member of the presidential commission that has drafted the controversial amendments, Gagik Ghazinian, downplays objections to the text that have been voiced by the Venice Commission, the legal arm of the Council of Europe. Ghazinian says the Venice Commission does not oppose, in principle, the proposed conduct of two-round parliamentary elections in Armenia strongly resisted by most opposition forces. “We must admit that we are no Italy to have a change of government once or twice a year and avoid a negative impact on our country,” he says. “A period of such instability could have negative political and economic consequences in our country. That is why [the Venice Commission experts] understand the importance of stability. The question is by what means [that stability should be ensured.]”
“Haykakan Zhamanak” says that some food products, notably imported cheddar cheese, are more expensive in Armenia than in European countries like Germany and Britain. “There is no need to even compare the wages in Armenia and Great Britain,” comments the paper. “That’s not the problem. The problem is the fact that some foodstuffs in Armenia are more than twice as expensive as in Germany and England. The only explanation is that imports of cheddar, just like many other items, are monopolized.”