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“168 Zham” expects the foreign ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan to focus on “how to resume substantive negotiations” on Nagorno-Karabakh at their upcoming meeting. The paper considers that an uphill task especially considering last week’s escalation of tensions on the Karabakh frontlines.

“Zhoghovurd” attacks the chairman of the Central Election Commission (CEC), Tigran Mukuchian, for defending the CEC’s handling of the April 2 parliamentary elections during a National Assembly session in Yerevan on Monday. The paper says that the CEC report presented to lawmakers could make uninformed people think that those elections were held not in Armenia but in an established foreign democracy. It says that the outcome of the vote was decided by vote buying, abuse of government resources, and pressure exerted on voters. “That was recorded by international observers and foreign embassies in Armenia,” it says, adding that even the Armenian Constitutional Court acknowledged that the elections were marred by irregularities.

“Hraparak” reports that the supreme head of the Armenian Apostolic Church, Catholicos Garegin II, has received the head of a Justice Ministry agency managing Armenia’s prisons, Artur Osikian, and the chief of the State Committee on Water Resources, Arsen Harutiunian, at his Echmiadzin headquarters. The paper finds these meetings bizarre and wonders whether Garegin would meet with relatives of jailed opposition members or other individuals that have suffered injustice at the hands of various government bodies.

“Haykakan Zhamanak” reports that companies belonging to Samvel Aleksanian, a government-linked wealthy businessman, accounted for over 95 percent of sugar imported to Armenia last year. The paper says this de facto monopoly explains why the retail prices of sugar are higher in Armenia than in Germany or Georgia. “This is our authorities’ idea of business competition,” it comments scathingly. “This is the reason why our economy has not developed and cannot develop.”

(Tigran Avetisian)

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