“Haykakan Zhamanak” reports that residents of a growing number of rural communities across Armenia are taking to the streets to demand the resignation of their mayors. “In some cases the work of local administrations is paralyzed because members of local councils boycott sessions,” writes the paper. “In other cases, the confrontations take more serious forms: demonstrations, clashes, street blockades and so on.” It says one of the reasons for this unrest is that village councils want to play a larger role in local governance, emboldened by Armenia’s transition to a parliamentary system of government. Also, it says, community mayors “performed different functions” under the country’s former regime.
“Zhamanak” reports that prosecutors have reopened a criminal investigation into the 2013 assassination of Hrach Muradian, the Dashnaktsutyun-affiliated mayor of Proshian, a big village just west of Yerevan. The paper links the development to Dashnaktsutyun’s recent criticism of law-enforcement authorities’ failure to solve the murder and threats to stage regular street protests. It claims that the prosecutors are thus “turning the situation against the former authorities.” It recalls that Muradian was shot dead shortly after defeating an election challenger nominated by Serzh Sarkisian’s Republican Party (HHK).
“Zhoghovurd” says that many in Armenia have for decades felt that knowledge and professional skills are less important than connections for making a career in the public and even private sectors. “It is therefore not accidental that whenever there is talk these days of appointing someone to a [government] position few care about the latter’s professional qualities,” writes the paper. “Many are curious instead to know what party they are from, who they are related to and whether they marched during the  revolution … And when an official slips up or messes up their area of responsibility everyone starts pointing the finger at the intermediary [who presumably helped them get the job] and point to their political connections or relatives. So it’s about time we also had a revolution in the field of evaluation of officials.”