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Gagik Beglaryan, Yerevan’s central Kentron district’s mayor, has been appointed as Yerevan’s mayor by president Serzh Sargsyan. Beglaryan is the government official, who said only 10 days ago that he and his kin are “used to fighting for themselves”, referring to an incident when his bodyguards severly beet a shoolchild for getting into an argument with Beglaryan’s son.
“We don’t keep bodygards to fight for us. We fight ourselves!”, Beglaryan – the than district mayor boasted speaking to RFE/RL, as if fighting or beating a poor schoolchild was of any real value. Now the man with that type of mentality has been appointed Yerevan’s mayor in a move that could mean president Sargsyan wants him to use ‘the beating skill’ to help the president’s Republican party win the upcoming elections of the first municipal council slated for May 31.
Beglaryan, who leads the Republican party’s list of candidates at the municipal elections, will have to step down from the mayor’s post unless re-appointed by the newly elected municipal assembly.
These are the first elections of Yerevan’s municipal authorities since the 90’s, when the mayor position was turned into a president-appointed one in an attempt to weaken the powers of Yerevan mayor, who would otherwise become the most powerful elected executive after the president having the vote of approval of up to 1 million Armenians.
Thus, the appointment of Yerevan’s mayor was president’s privilage until the November 2005 Constitutional amendments, which required that the Yerevan have elected municipal government. The law on Yerevan’s mayor’s elections were delayed for two years and a the law on Yerevan’s municiapal authority was adopted by legislators, led by Parliament majority Republican faction, skillfully avoiding the Constitutional requirement to institute direct elecitons of the mayor.
Now Belaryan, who leads the Republican party’s election candidate list on municipal elections will be automatically re-appointed as mayor if the Republican party gains more than 51% of the seats in municipal assembly. Considering the history of Armenian elections, this shouldn’t be too hard to do for a rulling party and a mayor in office, using all the administrative resource available to affect the elction results.
So Yerevan – there goes your new mayor for the next 12-15 years or so!