With just over a day left in Armenia's parliamentary campaign, many voters say that it will take more than promises of a strong army or increased pensions to get them to the polls on May 12. Some sociologists put the disinterest down to political parties' failure to use professional public relations techniques. Many parties, however, counter that they see no reason for experts to help them engage with voters.
Frustration with past elections, which many voters believe were rigged, appears to drive much of the apathy.
"No matter what happens, our life will not change. No matter who is elected or not elected, nothing can change," said 50-year-old Martin Hovhannisian, a former chemical engineer who now earns a living by driving a cab in one of Yerevan's suburbs. "As I see no prospects, I will not go to the polls. The elections are for officials and do not change anything in the lives of ordinary people."
Pensioner Margarit Minasian also plans to stay at home. She points at buses that brought students and people working for state-run organizations -- reportedly involuntarily -- to a Yerevan rally for the ruling Republican Party of Armenia.
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Marianna Grigoryan is a reporter for the independent online weekly ArmeniaNow in Yerevan.