Armenian Capital Awaits Results In First Major Electoral Test For PM Pashinian’s Party


(RFE/RL) — Polls have closed in the Armenian capital on September 17 amid low turnout in an election viewed as a major test for Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian. 

Voters went to the polls to elect a municipal assembly and decide on Yerevan’s mayor for the next five years. 

The Central Electoral Commission (CEC) said that as of closing of polls at 8 p.m., turnout was 28.5 percent, representing 234,553 voters out of 824,250 eligible. 

Local observers reported recording 204 election violations in the voting process at 79 locations in the Yerevan, a city of 1.1 million people that has about one-third of the Caucasus nation’s eligible voters.

A total of 13 political parties and one bloc were vying for 65 seats in the assembly, called the Council of Elders.

Preliminary results expected to be announced early on September 18.

The vote is the first major test for Pashinian’s Civil Contract party after 2021 general elections in which it scored a landslide victory. 

Civil Contract’s mayoral candidate in Yerevan elections is current Deputy Mayor Tigran Avinian, who served as Armenia’s deputy prime minister in 2018-2021.

According to political observers, one of Avinian’s key rivals in the elections is Hayk Marutian, a former Pashinian ally who served as Yerevan mayor from 2018 to 2021 when he was relieved of his duties by a vote of no confidence passed by the Civil Contract-dominated Council of Elders.

Marutian, a popular comedian, is running on the ticket of the little-known National Progress Party.

Among the main contenders are also Mane Tandilian, a former labor minister who heads the Aprelu Yerkir (Country for Living) party, and former opposition lawmaker Andranik Tevanian, who leads the Mother Armenia bloc that enjoys the support of former president Robert Kocharian’s parliamentary Hayastan (“Armenia”) alliance.

The September 17 poll follows a 24-day election campaign, which, according to Vahagn Hovakimian, head of the CEC, took place in a relatively “polite and calm” atmosphere.

Opposition parties as well as some observers, however, have accused Civil Contract of foul play, saying its candidate has been using administrative resources in his campaign, a claim denied by the ruling party.

The CEC said three local and two international organizations have been accredited to monitor the elections. It added that 40 local and three foreign media outlets have also received accreditation to cover the voting on election day.


RFE/RL journalists report the news in 21 countries where a free press is banned by the government or not fully established.

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