“Zhamanak” says that with his contradictory statements and actions of recent days presidential candidate Paruyr Hayrikian has made the Armenian presidential election look exceedingly “unserious.” The paper says Hayrikian’s behavior has inflicted more damage on the vote than the January 31 shooting attack on him.
“168 Zham” says the dominant view among Armenian observers is that Hayrikian cut a secret deal with the authorities with regard to his decision not to seek a two-week postponement of the election. A deal that would have “political and material consequences” for him. “Naturally the authorities and Serzh Sarkisian in particular were not interested in an election delay because in that case they would face serious problems even if the situation did not get out of their control,” writes the paper. It says they do not make secret of having “worked with Hayrikian” before he withdrew his appeal from the Constitutional Court.
“Hraparak” considers “totally understandable” claims that the upcoming election will not be a genuine contest and that Armenians should not vote for any of the candidates. “What the carriers of this mood mean is that for decades the authorities have destroyed electoral systems, spoiled the voter, bribed members of election commissions, intimidated and threatened [people] and falsified [elections,]” explains the paper. “As a result, we now have a distorted electoral system and voters with a distorted mentality.” Even so, the paper believes a boycott is not the only method of fighting against this reality.
“Zhoghovurd” says President Serzh Sarkisian seemed to indicate that he can get as many votes as he wishes when he campaigned in the Shirak province at the weekend. “In effect, the person occupying the highest post in the country is openly admitting that not only is the outcome of elections in Armenia predetermined but that he himself will decide how many votes will be added to his tally,” claims the paper. “Talking about free and fair elections and an electoral system in general after all this would be naïve, to say the least.”