Pashinyan's party victorious but weakened after Sunday's elections in Yerevan
Voters in Armenia's capital Yerevan went to the polls on Sunday to elect a new city council and Mayor. The vote was seen as a test of the popularity of the current prime minister Nikol Pashinyan, and his Civic Contract party, particularly as they move towards signing a peace treaty with Azerbaijan.
Pashinyan's party emerged victorious since it gained the most votes, but the vote has been less than decisive. In fact a coalition will be required for a majority to be established in the city council following elections that were also marked by a low turnout. The Armenian Central Electoral Commission (CEC) said that as of closing of polls at 8 p.m. on Sunday, turnout was 28.5 percent, representing 234,553 voters out of 824,250 eligible.
Civil Contract's mayoral candidate in Yerevan elections is current Deputy Mayor Tigran Avinian, who served as Armenia’s deputy prime minister in 2018-2021. Hayk Marutian, a former Pashinian ally who served as Yerevan mayor from 2018 to 2021 when he was relieved of his duties by a vote of no confidence passed by the Civil Contract-dominated Council of Elders emerged in second place.
The CEC on Monday completed the electronic counting of votes. The results of all 475 polling stations have been summarized, according to which, based on preliminary data, 5 political forces are entering the Yerevan Council of Elders: Pashinyan's Civic Contract, "National Progress" (Hayk Marutian), "Mother Armenia" an alliance that has the support of former president Robert Kocharian, "Republic", a political force seen as sympathetic to Pashinyan, and "Public Voice".
Mon, 09/18/2023 - 07:53
Opinion: Forthcoming municipal elections in Armenia may pose a first test for a peace agreement with Azerbaijan
Delays in signing an Armenia-Azerbaijan peace agreement open the prospects that the process may be derailed as a result of domestic politics. Next month, Yerevan will go to the polls to indirectly elect a new mayor. The parliamentary opposition is boycotting the vote, and a large number of voters remain apathetic or undecided, but the vote can still be seen as demonstrative enough ahead of the 2026 national parliamentary elections. In this op-ed for commonspace.eu, Onnik James Krikorian argues that Pashinyan foes are already attempting to turn the 17 September 2023 vote into a ‘referendum’ on Armenia-Azerbaijan talks and former de facto State Minister of Karabakh Ruben Vardanyan has called for the same. If Karabakh does dominate the campaign trail, and if Pashinyan’s Civil Contract can emerge victorious with no major abuse of administrative resources recorded, then there would hardly be any political reason not to sign a peace agreement in the nearest future. But if the government were to lose City Hall as 2025 and 2026 approaches, then that would look even less certain.
For now, that does not appear likely, but what happens next month could greatly influence Pashinyan’s options in the weeks, months, and years ahead.
Mon, 08/28/2023 - 05:19