(Saturday, January 12)
“Haykakan Zhamanak” sees a record-high number of obscure or little-known individuals participating in Armenia’s 2013 presidential race. The paper says that while the emergence of new figures on the political arena is a good thing in theory, presidential elections is “not the kind of environment where one can take their first steps as a public activist.” “On the contrary, they should be the climax of a person’s public activities which only a limited number of individuals can achieve,” it says. “It’s normal when an election is contested by one or two new, exotic figures. But when they are a majority, it says nothing good about the level of maturity of the public elite.”
“Hayots Ashkhar” believes that socioeconomic issues should dominate the discourse of presidential candidates. In particular, the paper says, they should discuss “the disproportionately high prices of many goods and services in Armenia.” “Why is it that our prices are set arbitrarily and constantly rise regardless of global trends?” it says. “This includes the prices of food and medicines.”
“Chorrord Inknishkhanutyun” comments on presidential candidate Andreas Ghukasian’s calls for all challengers of President Serzh Sarkisian to withdraw from the race. Ghukasian said on Friday that participating in the election does not make sense because Sarkisian’s victory is “predetermined.” The pro-opposition paper says he should have clarified that the election outcome is a forgone conclusion “not because Serzh Sarkisian is the strongest candidate but because he is going to use all possible forms of electoral fraud.”
“Despite a growing sense in Armenia that the outcome of the presidential elections is predetermined, the OSCE is planning to monitor them with a quite large mission,” writes “Zhamanak.” The paper speculates that the West is thus making clear that it does not care much about the election’s boycott by “pro-Russian” opposition groups such as the Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK), the Armenian National Congress (HAK) and the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun). It says the West is also telling Armenians that they must stop being apathetic about the vote.
“168 Zham” asks Surik Khachatrian, the controversial governor of Syunik province, to comment on President Sarkisian’s recent remark that the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK) should get rid of ignorant and uneducated members. Khachatrian says such individuals are the ones who are “not loyal to the paper.” “That is ignorance in itself,” he says. He also claims that there are “traitors” in the HHK. “Believe me, if know who they are I will name them,” the notoriously violet official tells the paper.