Elections for the city council of the Armenian capital Yerevan has resulted in a landslide victory for the political force of Armenian prime minister Nikol Pashinyan, with 81.06% of voters casting their vote for "My Step".
Far behind in second place was the Prosperous Armenia party with 6.95%. A third party, the Luys Alliance secured 4.95% - not enough to pass the threshhold, but due to a provision in the regulations that at least three parties must be represented in the city assembly, it will secure seats. Turnout in the election was just over 43%. Nine other parties who contested the election secured only very small number of votes.
According to the current rules, the person heading the "My Step" candidate list, Hayk Marutyan is the Mayor elect. He will assume office on 10 October.
Commonspace.eu political editor said that this was a splendid electoral victory for Nikol Pashinyan and his political team and it considerably strengthens the hand of the prime minister as he pursues ambitious and radical internal political reforms. Whilst the real test will come with parliamentary elections, now likely to be held in early 2019, the landslide victory in Yerevan is more than symbolic. Yerevan is not only the capital of Armenia, but also its political, economic and social hub. Discontent in Yerevan was always the achilles heel of Armenian governments in the last decade, and they were never overcome. Pashinyan has shown that his popular base is strong. Whilst turnout at 43.65% was somewhat low, this election appears to have been free from "carousel voting" and vote buying, and so the number of voters was genuine and not artificially inflated. It is likely that Pashinyan will move quickly to cash-in on his electoral victory, perhaps pushing more changes, but also securing an early vote in parliamentary elections. It will only be a convincing victory in those elections that will seal the political process started in Armenia in April when Pashinyan started his nation-wide march, accompanied by a handful of followers.
photo: Yerevan mayor elect Hayk Marutyan (archive picture)
Azerbaijani media identified him as Bahram Hasanzada, a foreign citizen, and says he "was engaged in espionage according to instructions from foreign services, to the detriment of Azerbaijan's state security".
The report makes a number of recommendations that "aim to guide peace negotiators, policymakers, donors, and national and international civil society activists who work to promote mutual understanding and peace between the societies divided by the Nagorny Karabakh conflict".