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“Zhamanak” says that Gagik Tsarukian’s decision to stay out of the mayoral race in Yerevan has created a “really interesting situation” as there will no longer be a “Tsarukian buffer between the [ruling] HHK and the opposition.” The paper says the authorities will now try to understand “what they can achieve without the buffer” when facing the opposition. Nobody will divert votes from the opposition in the municipal elections slated for May 14, it says.

“Zhoghovurd” says that the mayoral race has already overshadowed the implications of the April 2 parliamentary elections and prevented expert analyses of reasons why the staunchly pro-Western Free Democrats party got less than 1 percent of the vote. The paper recalls opinion polls conducted several years ago which showed that one-third of Armenians have a pro-Western political orientation. It does not think that their number has shrunk significantly as a result of Armenia’s accession to the Russian-led Eurasian Economic Union (EEU).

“So what is the reason why the Free Democrats, who want Armenia to leave the EEU and integrate with the West as deeply as possible, gathered less than 1 percent of the vote?” asks “Zhoghovurd.” “It is certainly hard to give a clear answer to this question,” it says. “One of the possible explanations, the most plausible one, is that the pro-Western elements, who love to promote their progressive views on Facebook, never came out of that virtual domain and took real steps to put their ideas into practice.”

“Aravot” says that voters in Yerevan should now brace themselves for fresh promises by political parties and blocs to “turn Armenia into a paradise.” “The promises will be refreshed,” writes the paper. “One can only hope that at least 1 percent of them become a reality.”

“Haykakan Zhamanak” reports that the State Revenue Committee (SRC) has conducted research on the scale of tax evasion in some sectors of the Armenian economy. The paper says that in a statement released on Tuesday the SRC suggested that tax fraud is widespread among Armenian construction firms and importers of electronic devices. “The SRC does not specify which companies were found to evade taxes and whether notorious oligarchs are connected to them,” it says.

(Tigran Avetisian)

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