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Opposition Bloc Hints At Yerevan Council U-Turn


Armenia -- The municipal Council of Elders votes to schedule the election of Yerevan's new mayor, 13Dec2010.

Armenia -- The municipal Council of Elders votes to schedule the election of Yerevan's new mayor, 13Dec2010.

The Armenian National Congress (HAK) could consider taking up its seats in Yerevan’s municipal assembly two years after renouncing them in protest against alleged vote rigging, a senior representative of the opposition alliance said on Monday.

The HAK won 13 seats in the 65-member Council of Elders in municipal elections held in May 2009. It rejected their official results as fraudulent and refused to join the council at the time.

It emerged last week that the bloc technically still controls those seats because it never abandoned them in a manner defined by the law. The Central Election Commission (CEC) warned that four senior HAK figures elected to Armenia’s new parliament cannot receive their mandates unless they formally end their membership in the Yerevan council. The oppositionists promptly submitted their letters of resignation to the municipal administration.

One of them, Levon Zurabian, said that the HAK’s entry into the National Assembly has created a “new political situation” that might necessitate its participation in the work of the Yerevan council as well. “I personally do not rule out that,” he told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am). “In my view, the idea deserves consideration. But we certainly have made no decision on that.”

Zurabian denied any connection between the HAK’s possible U-turn and the fact that the Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK) has decided to pull out of the country’s governing coalition.

The BHK has 17 seats in the council that elects Yerevan’s mayor, compared with 35 seats held by President Serzh Sarkisian’s Republican Party (HHK).

At least six individuals who contested the 2009 elections on the HAK ticket and can now become councilors are members of two opposition parties that are no longer affiliated with the bloc headed by former President Levon Ter-Petrosian. Representatives of those parties made clear on Monday that they continue to favor an opposition boycott of the Yerevan council.
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