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“Zhamanak” wonders whether Armenia’s government initialed the new agreement with the European Union now because it expects a positive EU assessment of the April 2 parliamentary elections. The paper also hopes that the government is serious about implementing the agreement’s economic and political provisions. “That is to say it is essential that the new Armenia-EU document does not become yet another manifestation of self-deception,” it says.

“Zhoghovurd” says that the signing of the EU-Armenia Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement (CEPA) might still be cancelled under Russian pressure at the last minute. The paper cites the “sad precedent” of President Serzh Sarkisian’s foreign policy U-turn of September 2013 which resulted in the scrapping of the more far-reaching Association Agreement with the EU. It says that Yerevan’s ability to “counter Russian blackmail” greatly depends on the upcoming parliamentary elections and ensuing developments.

“No matter how clean the elections will be, nobody will believe that they were not rigged,” claims “Hraparak.” The paper says at the same time that Armenians are smart and experienced enough to realize “the extent of fraud” and see whether it influenced the election outcome. This is why post-election opposition demonstrations in Yerevan attracted large crowds in 1996, 2003, 2008 and 2013. “Our people have an amazing sense of justice and a powerful instinct to defend those who suffered or were punished unjustly,” it says. “So our authorities will be greatly disappointed if they think that they will again rig the elections and people will not rise up this time around.”

“Haykakan Zhamanak” says that Vartan Harutiunian, the recently appointed head of the State Revenue Committee (SRC), and members of his family make no secret of their wealth declared to an anti-corruption state body. In particular, the paper says, Harutiunian’s wife purchased $1.6 million worth of real estate in Yerevan last year. It says that the official must give a detailed explanation on how he and his family became so rich.

(Tigran Avetisian)

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