(Saturday, March 25)
“Zhoghovurd” reacts to claims by an Armenian civic group that the directors of schools and kindergartens across the country are illegally campaigning for the ruling HHK’s victory in the April 2 parliamentary elections. The paper says that “concrete facts” presented by the Union of Informed Citizens (UIC) are a serious embarrassment for President Serzh Sarkisian’s party. It says that the Office of the Prosecutor-General, the Central Election Commission and the Education Ministry claim to have launched separate inquiries into the revelations.
“In any normal state, the ruling political force would apologize or even drop out of the election race in such cases,” comments “Zhoghovurd.” “But in Armenia, the authorities have not only failed to apologize but will also clear their agents of any wrongdoing soon.”
“The HHK does not admit that this is a vivid example of abuse of administrative resources,” writes “Haykakan Zhamanak.” The paper laughs off the HHK’s stance.
“168 Zham” quotes President Serzh Sarkisian as telling a Moscow-based TV channel that the Russian-led Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) poses no threat to other nations not affiliated with it. Sarkisian also called for the CSTO to rapidly “adapt to the contemporary reality.” Asked about security threats facing Armenia, Sarkisian singled out Azerbaijan’s efforts to achieve a military solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. He also noted that Armenia is located “only 400 kilometers away” from parts of Syria and Iraq controlled by the so-called Islamic State.
As “Zhamanak” points out, Sarkisian also told the MIR-24 TV channel that Islamist terrorists are among refugees flocking to Europe. “In all likelihood, Yerevan is hinting at Ankara against the background of a deterioration of Turkish-European relations and improvement of Russian-Turkish relations,” speculates the paper. It goes on to claim that he may thus be seeking to gain “international legitimacy” against his domestic actions such as the arrest on de facto terrorism charges of the retired General Samvel Babayan.