Gagik Tsarukian’s Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK) said on Monday that it will take up its seats in Yerevan’s newly elected municipal council despite its criticism of the conduct of the May 5 elections in the capital.
According to the final election results released by the Central Election Commission (CEC) on Sunday, the BHK finished second in the polls, winning 23 percent of the vote and 17 seats in the city’s 65-seat Council of Elders. The ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK), the official election winner, will hold 42 seats.
The remaining 6 councilors will represent the opposition bloc Barev Yerevan. Despite rejecting the official vote results as fraudulent, the bloc is widely expected not to boycott the Yerevan council.
The BHK, which quit Armenia’s governing coalition a year ago, has been more cautious in its official reaction to the authorities’ handling of the vote. Still, some of its senior members, notably Vartan Oskanian, have publicly alleged widespread fraud. But even they have spoken out against boycotting the council.
Naira Zohrabian, a senior BHK figure, said the party leadership has decided against such a boycott. “We have a moral obligation to those 100,000 Yerevan residents that voted for Prosperous Armenia,” she told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am). “Even with 17 seats we will try to bring up pressing problems which, as we could see, are numerous in Yerevan.”
Zohrabian added that Oskanian and two other parliament deputies who topped the BHK’s list of election candidates for the May 5 vote will stay on as members of the National Assembly and cede their council mandates to other BHK candidates. Armenian law forbids them from simultaneously serving in both legislatures.
Tsarukian’s party held 17 seats in the previous council that was also controlled by the HHK. Its councilors rarely challenged the HHK majority and Yerevan’s Republican mayors.