(Saturday, February 11)
“Hraparak” says that the Armenian parliamentary race is “exposing all our ills, vices and mistakes which we have for years covered up.” The paper points to the scenes of desperate and poor people besieging businessman Gagik Tsarukian to ask him for material aid, calling them “our shame and evidence of our failings, crimes and indifference.” “Government rulers witnessing such scenes should have died from shame,” it declares, saying that they are instead blaming people and accusing them of ignorance and sale of their votes.
“We are askers, rather than citizens or voters,” “Aravot” comments on the same subject. “Those who have lost their dignity simply ask for alms during elections, which are now duly given to them. Those who have not yet lost their las remnants of dignity are saying: ‘Give me a job.’”
Ryszard Czarnecki, a deputy speaker of the European Parliament, tells “168 Zham” that possible irregularities during the upcoming parliamentary elections would damage Armenia’s relations with the European Union. “But I don’t think that things will get to that point,” he says. Czarnecki also says that past Armenian elections monitored by him were well-administered despite fraud allegations that marred them. He hopes that the April 2 vote will be more democratic. “This is a very important moment for the country,” he adds.
“Zhoghovurd” claims that Prime Minister Karen Karapetian is using the election campaign to increase his chances of remaining in office after Serzh Sarkisian’s presidency ends in April 2018. The paper emphasizes the fact that Karapetian is leading the ruling HHK’s campaign despite not being among its election candidates. It argues that he spoke of his “vision for Armenia’s economic development from 2018” when he posted on his Facebook page a link to his interview with the Reuters news agency. “In other words, Karapetian implied that he will be Armenia’s prime minister for a long time,” it says, adding that the premier’s confidence is based on assurances given to him by President Sarkisian.