“Zhoghovurd” says that President Serzh Sarkisian spoke of Armenia’s “successful partnership” with the European Union when he addressed a congress of the European People’s Party (EPP) in Malta on Wednesday. The paper says that this remark would have bewildered many observers in Armenia and Europe a year ago. “Today, however, Sarkisian can openly talk about the consistency of Armenia’s European agenda from a European podium,” it says. “But the pre-signing of a new agreement with the EU is not enough.” The Armenian authorities must also deliver on their democratization pledges by holding a free and fair election on Sunday, emphasizes the paper.
“Zhamanak” says that hardly anyone now doubts that the ruling Republican Party (HHK) and Gagik Tsarukian’s bloc will win far more parliament seats than any other election contender. “It is also probably beyond doubt that the HHK will finish first,” predicts the paper. The only question, it says, is whether the HHK will control a plurality or outright majority of parliament seats.
“Hraparak” comments on rumors that electronic devices to be installed in polling stations will compromise the secrecy of the ballot. The paper says that the rumors are meant for “uneducated and scared” voters who are reluctant to back HHK candidates. “If our society is unhappy with its life, it has to revolt against this system no matter how scared it is of oligarchs and criminal elements or dependent on them,” it says.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” says Armenia has made clear over the past year that substantive peace negotiations on Nagorno-Karabakh will resume only if Azerbaijan complies with the 2016 Vienna and Saint Petersburg agreements aimed at strengthening the ceasefire regime in the conflict zone. The paper agrees that the confidence-building measures would eventually facilitate the search for a compromise settlement.
Interviewed by “168 Zham,” a Russian political commentator, Stanislav Tarasov, describes as “worrisome” former President Levon Ter-Petrosian’s calls for Armenian territorial concessions to Baku. He also says that the Armenian authorities are using Ter-Petrosian to “legitimize” such concessions in the eyes of the domestic public.