Who will be the mayor of Yerevan? No political faction secures 50% of vote
Yerevan mayoral elections 2023
The preliminary results of the elections to the Yerevan Council of Elders, which serves as the capital’s parliament, have been summarized. Five political forces have passed the threshold in terms of votes: the ruling Civil Contract party (32.57%), the opposition parties National Progress (18.89%), Republic (11.32%) and Public Voice (9.68%), as well as the Mother Armenia bloc (15.43%).
However, none of these political forces can claim to have its representative become mayor without forming a coalition. According to legislation, only the faction that gets 50% wins that right.
The main intrigue now lies in what forces will go on to form a coalition in order to get a majority of votes in the council. Some of the forces that participated in the elections announced during the election campaign that this issue could be discussed only after the results of the voting were summarized.
Representatives of the Mother Armenia bloc stated in advance that they were ready to cooperate with those “not related to the ruling party.” The “National Progress” preliminarily refused to cooperate with the “former”, i.e. the former authorities. After the publication of the preliminary results, “Public Voice” stated that it is ready to form a coalition with “National Progress” and “Mother Armenia” bloc. If this happens, the three forces together will collect the 33 mandates needed to nominate their candidate for the mayor’s post.
Observers announced that the elections were held “in competitive conditions, but revealed low voter interest” in the process. Only 28.46% of potential voters participated in voting. The chairman of the Central Election Commission said: “This is the lowest level of participation in the elections in Yerevan.”
On the political forces that have passed in the council
Fourteen political forces participated in the council elections: 13 parties and 1 alliance. Forces which surpassed the transitional threshold:
The Civil Contract Party nominated Tigran Avinyan, who has served as vice-mayor of the capital for the last year, for the post of mayor. Previously he was deputy prime minister.
The National Progress Party nominated Hayk Marutyan, actor and producer, former Mayor of Yerevan, for mayor. After the 44-day war in Karabakh, he filed a resignation from the ruling party. He has since claimed that Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan’s team has moved away from the “revolutionary values” with which it came to power in 2018.
The Mother Armenia bloc proposed Andranik Tevanyan, who recently gave up his parliamentary mandate, for the mayor’s post. Tevanyan was a member of the Armenia bloc founded by former Armenian President Robert Kocharyan.
The Public Voice party sees Artak Galstyan, unknown to most Yerevan residents, as worthy of the mayor’s post. The head of the party is a scandalous blogger, popularly known by his nickname Dog. He is a former police officer now living somewhere abroad.
The Republic party nominated Artak Zeynalyan, who served as Minister of Justice in 2018-19, for mayor.
According to the electoral code, at least three political forces should be represented in the Council of Elders. In order to enter the council, parties must get at least 4% of votes, blocs 6%.
“One mandate will be decisive.”
According to preliminary results, the 65 seats in the Council of Elders were distributed as follows:
“Civil Contract” – 24 mandates,
“Republic” – 8 mandates,
“National Progress” – 14 mandates,
“Mother Armenia” – 12 mandates,
“Public Voice” – 7 mandates.
Political analyst Areg Kochinyan assumes that the “Republic” party will support the ruling force, and together they will have 32 mandates. At the same time, he considers it unlikely that the other three political forces will unite. But in this case they will have 33 mandates, that is, as many as needed for their nominee to take the mayor’s post.
“If there is a recount at any polling station, the picture could change. In fact, only one vote [mandate] will be decisive,” Kochinyan wrote on his Facebook page.
“It’s the voters’ decision.”
There are 824,250 people on Yerevan’s voter list, 234,553 citizens participated in the voting, i.e. 28.46% of the electorate.
According to Vahagn Hovakimyan, Chairman of the Central Election Commission, the dynamics of participation in the elections has been gradually decreasing recently:
“This is the decision of the voters. As a rule, free and democratic elections all over the world have a low level of participation, because the voter may or may not be interested in participation”.
He also touched on complaints of voters who were not notified of exactly where, in which polling station, they were to vote. He does not believe this would have affected the outcome of the election. Interested voters could clarify this information on the interactive map, posted on the CEC website.
At the same time, Hovakimyan said that the state spent about 330 drams (86 cents) for one notification. The CEC head believes that it is necessary to find out from the Haypost company, which was entrusted with this duty, how many people eventually received notifications:
“It is necessary to find out so that the state does not pay for the service not rendered. But yes, there have been such cases, our hotline has also received such signals.”
According to political observer Hakob Badalyan, passive voting indicates “a demand for new quality and content.”
“It is also an alarming signal of a deep crisis. If there is no political force that can work rationally, competently, maturely with this demand, the society will become deeply apathetic towards politics,” he believes.
Yerevan mayoral elections 2023