Key Elections in Yerevan

Armenia — Municipal elections have started in capital Yerevan on Sunday. Voters will elect an elderly council which will in turn elect the Mayor of Yerevan for the first time in over a decade. The elections held on proportional party lists are the most significant political event since the troubled presidential elections in 2008 which ended in violence on the streets of Yerevan.

The tension is high, as elected mayor will represent about half of Armenia’s population and will be in charge of the formidable budget from the largest community in Armenia – Yerevan, where most of the key businesses are located (roughly 50% of Armenia’s economic activity is concentrated in Yerevan according to IMF data). The Yerevan Mayor is thus set to become the most powerful elected executive official after president.

Following a pre-election campaign marred with violence not only between the opposition and the authorities, but also two major pro-government parties: the Republican party and the “Prosperous Armenia”,  (hopefully for good), more than 770 thousand registered voters cast ballots to decide which of the 6 parties and 1 pre-election pact will receive the majority sits in elderly council.

So far everything seems normal – with Public TV of Armenia painting the rosy picture of the most democratic elections in the world, while opposition cries fowl and claims all sorts of violations. Business as usual…

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Gagik Tsarukian detained

Gagik Tsarukian, 23, has been detained in Gyumri on charges of attempting to forge 1000 AMD notes. The Gyumri inhabitant has admitted to making a printing machine, printing and using at least 2 banknotes.

The reason this story from A1plus attracted my attention (and probably yours too), is because this young man from Gyumri is the namesake of the richest Armenian oligarch – Gagik Tsarukian, owner of a range of businesses, founder of “Prosperous Armenia” party.

How ironic.

Podcast: Yerevan elections in the Armenian blogosphere

PodcastDays before the first ever municipal elections in Yerevan several bloggers have noticed that the municipal authorities are doing major road construction works, fixing street lightes, renovating backyards.

Reporter_arm has put together his notes on what the Armenian blogosphere has to say about the pre-election race, this sudden push by the authorities to finally start doing some of their responsibilities and more.

You can download the short, 5 minute mp3 version of the radio program/podcast from here or listen to it online by clicking the player icon below. A full Armenian language text-version of the podcast is available at E-channel.

One minute, one shot

The ‘film directors’ taking part in the “one minute one shot” film festival were either not taking it seriously, or they are mostly deprived of basic imagination and directing skills. That is the conclusion I arrived at after viewing about 90 films – that were given to me to evaluate as I took participated in the ‘journalistic jury’ for the event.

The festival itself, organized by the Armenian Center for contemporary experimental art, sounds like a great idea. From what I understood, the task is to create a 1 minute video piece without any editing – and in that one shot to try and tell a lot. Continue reading

Podcast: Armenian bloggers don’t want to spoil relations over politics

PodcastArmenian bloggers Kornelij Glas, InferoArm, Ditord and Reporter_Arm met at the studio of “Armenian Blogosphere” radio program / podcast at “Internews” to discuss the municipal elections in Yerevan slated on May 31st.

You can download the short, 5 minute mp3 version of the radio program/podcast from here or listen to it online by clicking the player icon below. A longer version of the discussion will soon be available on this blog as well. A text-version of the discussion is available at E-channel.