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…