Local Votes: Dozens of Armenian communities to elect leaderships June 7

Just like in previous years the Armenian opposition remains passive in terms of fielding candidates during elections to local government bodies.

On June 7, local elections will be held in 32 communities in Armenia. In 18 of them community leaders will be elected.

Seventeen out of 33 nominated candidates are members of the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (RPA), the remaining 13 are non-partisan candidates; two of these non-partisan candidates – the current Prime Minister’s son Argam Abrahamyan (Artashat) and head of the Sanahin depot Karen Paremuzyan (Alaverdi) were nominated by the RPA.

Today Susanna Muradyan, of the opposition Heritage party, explained the inactivity of the opposition by the absence of financial means.

“To participate in local elections first of all an electoral deposit must be paid; you also need financial resources to open offices in communities, of course the government with its unlimited financial means can afford such expenses, however the opposition does not possess such possibilities.”

RPA lawmaker Lernik Mnatsakanyan, who was present at the conference, contradicted in his turn saying that the party does not provide financial support, because normally the winner of local elections is a person enjoying local prestige and authority.

“In communities only those with certain authority among the electorate occupy high ranks, they enjoy their respect and trust, thus in that case financial support will have no serious role for the outcome of the elections,” he said.

Speaking of public interest toward the elections, Heritage’s Muradyan said that especially in communities the picture is not quite comforting.

“A pervasive despair dominates there, people are indifferent toward elections, predicting in advance that a candidate from the ruling party will win,” Muradyan said, adding that even village heads in some communities, as RPA members, complained of the created situation.

Recently, the opposition in Armenia has ignored local elections considering that participating in such races is a waste of time and resources given the alleged use of various vote-buying techniques, pressure and administrative resources by the authorities. Government representatives, meanwhile, have rebuked the opposition for their refusal to run in local polls which they say is the first step on the way to achieving success in any general election.