(Saturday, October 24)
“Chorrord Ishkhanutyun” says that campaigning for the December 6 constitutional referendum in Armenia has not yet begun, with political parties supporting and opposing President Serzh Sarkisian’s amendments still deciding whether to campaign on their own or team up with like-minded forces. The pro-opposition daily says that for opponents of the constitutional reform it will be easier to try to get their message across. Their main argument is that Sarkisian wants to amend the Armenian constitution in order to prolong his rule. The paper wonders what the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK) and its allies will tell voters when they start touring the country.
“168 Zham” reports that former Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian has issued another statement strongly criticizing the proposed constitutional changes. The paper finds the criticism disingenuous, saying that Oskanian hardly has a “moral right” to warn of perceived dangers to democracy and the rule of law in Armenia. It says that Oskanian spent a whole decade serving in the administration of former President Robert Kocharian and defending the latter’s grave human rights abuses in the international arena.
“Zhamanak” questions international mediators’ strong desire to arrange a meeting of Sarkisian and Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev before the end of this year. The paper says that it is still not clear whether that meeting will take place under Russian or Western “auspices.” “It should be noted that the last two Sarkisian-Aliyev meetings took place in the West: at the NATO summit in Wales and then in Paris,” it says, alleging “bitter rivalry” between Western powers and Russia over control of the Karabakh peace process. It claims that this rivalry only encourages Azerbaijan to violate the ceasefire regime along the border with Armenia and “the line of contact” around Karabakh.
“Zhoghovurd” reports that the Armenian government has yet to make good on Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamian’s public promises to subsidize agricultural loans extended by commercial banks to farmers across the country. The paper says that none of the farmers has received such loans at discount rates so far.