By Shakeh Avoyan
A senior Republican Party member’s son confirmed on Monday his intention to seek an election as prefect in Yerevan’s northwestern district of Ajapnyak.
Arman Sahakian, a former vice-mayor of Yerevan and the son of the influential leader of the Republican Party’s (HHK) parliamentary faction Galust Sahakian, said he had resigned from his post before the election scheduled for October 29 “for people not to think that I would use my administrative resource.”
“I considered it my moral obligation to resign before I contest the election and I will recommend all candidates who current hold government posts to follow suit,” Sahakian said.
Ajapnyak has 120,000 residents, 72,000 of whom are eligible to vote. The previous elections show that tense struggle usually takes place in this Yerevan district where about half of the eligible voters go to the polls.
Three years ago Sahakian already tried to unseat the district’s current prefect Artsrun Khachatrian. He lost then to the incumbent enjoying the support of the country’s most powerful law-enforcement officials in a close contest.
In the elections this autumn Sahakian anticipates tough competition again and fears that his struggle with Khachatrian will again be unfair.
“The greatest fraud three years ago was that up to 8,000 people got temporary registration in the community and voted in favor of Artsrun Khachatrian,” Sahakian says.
Artsrun Khchatrian, who will seek reelection for the third time in a row, is not affiliated with any party, but is said to enjoy the support of certain political groups.
He twice defeated candidates fielded by the HHK in the past and feels confident of his success this year.
“I have many friends in the Republican Party, even in its board, and they will help me. So it is yet early to speak about who will support who,” Khachatrian told RFE/RL. “In any case, I am ready for struggle. I know that people are on my side.”
Meanwhile, Sahakian finds illogical Khachatrian’s statement that he will enjoy the HHK’s support: “I am the head of the HHK Ajapnyak chapter and a member of the HHK Board. So it is natural that I will get the support of my fellow partisans.”