- Independent Journalism From Today's Armenia
 February 14, 2003 

Editors note: For the past month Yerevan journalists, including the staff of ArmeniaNow have been preparing a newspaper supplement aimed at helping voters make an informed decision in the February 19 Presidential election.

The 60,000 copy special edition was prepared and financed by Irex/ProMedia, a media-strengthening program under the auspices of the United States Agency for International Development.

The eight-page election supplement was offered free of charge to newspapers and other media throughout Armenia.

This week's ArmeniaNow will focus entirely on next Wednesday's election, using some of the main stories from the ProMedia project, and highlighting the most prevalent voter concerns.

Decision 2003: What matters most to voters?

When 45-year-old Goris resident Svetlana was asked to name five basic problems to her future President, the dish-washing woman from a snack bar said:

"Mr. President will you hold back some cruel individuals from oppressing other people?"

Yerevan resident 60-year-old Pavel answered to the same question in the capital: "People leave Armenia because of social unfairness. Will the elected President try to solve this problem?"

A collection of journalists representing ProMedia, a USAID media strengthening program, questioned 464 potential voters concerning 17 basic problems (unemployment, migration, corruption and so on) to learn how their concerns would effect their choice of candidate.

Among the respondents 331 are from Yerevan and nearby districts; 56 are from Gyumri and Vanadzor and 77 are from the Syunik region.

The interviews show that concerns vary according to geography.

Social problems are primary in Yerevan and Syunik region, while in Shirak and Lori regions the first is the economic situation, followed by social problems.

In the Capital only 16 percent named the economy as a chief concern, focusing more on issues such as education, judicial system problems, corruption and healthcare.

Part of the population in Yerevan and nearby regions names migration, national security, human rights' protection and free media after economic problems.

The other part of the population thinks the next President has to work more on the problems of terrorism, October 27 case investigation and genocide issues, as well as on agricultural, disaster zone and environment issues. Less than four percent think dual citizenship is necessary in Armenia.

In Syunik, human rights and free media rank as a higher concern than in Yerevan. And in Syunik, which is geographically closer to Karabakh than to other Armenian regions, only four of 77 interviewees referred to the Karabakh problem.

In the "earthquake zone", reconstruction is fourth on the priorities of voters and Karabakh shares almost equal concern.

Overall, economic and social problems rank as voters' top concerns, followed by corruption, migration, culture, national security, juridical system, free media, environmental reform, terrorism control and, last, a policy on stimulating the rate of birth.


Voter questions, candidate answers

Full story


Who will help the pensioners?

Full story


Who will stop the corruption?

Full story


  Photo of the week
  Photo of the week: Tamper resistant?
Click on the photo above to enlarge

Tamper resistant?

Journalists flocked to Zvartnots Airport Tuesday to greet the arrival of plastic boxes, heralded by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe as Armenia's first step toward "transparent" elections. The 2,000 boxes - at a cost of about $4 each - were financed by the US, Swiss, German and Norwegian governments. Newspaperman Tigran Liloyan gave one ballot bucket a test run.



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