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The Armenian government on Thursday officially scheduled for May 5 the next municipal elections in Yerevan in which the ruling Republican Party (HHK) plans to score another victory.

The government also allocated 65 million drams ($160,000) to the Central Election Commission (CEC) for the election organization and administration.

Residents of the Armenian capital will go to the polls on that day to elect a new municipal assembly that will in turn appoint a Yerevan mayor.

The city’s current Council of Elders controlled by the HHK was formed in May 2009 in elections that were condemned as fraudulent by the main opposition Armenian National Congress (HAK). The HAK refused to take up its 13 seats in the 65-member council in protest.

In accordance with the official vote results, the HHK got 35 council seats, putting it in a position to pick the mayor. The remaining 17 seats were won by the Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK), a member of President Serzh Sarkisian’s governing coalition until June 2012.

Galust Sahakian, a deputy chairman of the HHK, told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am) that the ruling party expects to retain its comfortable majority in the municipal council as a result of the May elections. He also said that Yerevan Mayor Taron Markarian is likely to hold on to his post.

“I don’t think that there will be another [mayoral] candidate, but I can’t speak of any decisions by the party because the issue has not yet been discussed,” said Sahakian. “We are busy with the [February 18] presidential elections right now,” he explained.
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