Armenia’s main political groups challenging the government can win the forthcoming municipal elections and appoint an opposition-affiliated mayor of Yerevan, a leader of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun) claimed on Friday.
Aghvan Vartanian indicated that Dashnaktsutyun and the three other opposition parties will seek to cut a power-sharing deal if the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK) loses its majority in the city’s Council of Elders.
“If the four opposition forces manage to win a majority in the Council of Elders we will create a counterweight to the government and the Republican Party and starting changes in Armenia from Yerevan,” Vartanian said, answering questions from Facebook users at the RFE/RL studio in Yerevan.
The Armenian National Congress (HAK), a more radical opposition group, has similarly described the formation of an opposition coalition administration in the Armenian capital as a real possibility. HAK and Dashnaktsutyun representatives have repeatedly said that an opposition victory in Yerevan would pave the way for “regime change” in the country.
The opposition-leaning Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK), which holds 17 seats in the outgoing 65-member municipal council, has sounded more cautious on that score. Still, BHK leaders have stressed the nationwide significance of the May 5 polls on the campaign trail.
“If we do not manage to lay the groundwork for very serious changes in the country with these elections, then you can be certain that Armenia will continue bleeding for another five years,” Naira Zohrabian, a senior BHK member, said on Friday as she campaigned in Yerevan’s Nork-Marash districts with other leaders of the party.
Speaking at a campaign gathering held there, Zohrabian also accused the Armenian authorities of creating an “atmosphere of fear” ahead of the elections. “A government feared by its people is doomed,” she told several dozen local residents. “Do not be afraid of anyone.”
The ruling HHK has expressed confidence that it will retain its majority in the Yerevan council and reappoint the 35-year-old Taron Markarian as the city’s mayor.