By Anush MartirosianThe controversial mayor of a Yerevan district affiliated with the governing Republican Party of Armenia (HHK) announced his impending resignation on Tuesday following fresh media allegations about his involvement in politically motivated violence.
Mher Sedrakian unexpectedly decided not to seek reelection as mayor of the southern Erebuni district less than a month after being endorsed by the HHK’s governing body, headed by President Serzh Sarkisian, for a local election scheduled for September 7.
Sedrakian filed for registration as an election candidate last week. A spokesman for the Central Election Commission (CEC) said he gave no reason for his subsequent decision to drop out of the race.
Sedrakian, who has long held sway in Erebuni and been repeatedly branded a crime figure by the Armenian opposition, could not be reached for comment. HHK representatives likewise declined a comment.
It was therefore not clear if his resignation is connected to periodical reports in the opposition press implicating the Erebuni mayor in violent attacks on opposition activists and other illegal practices. He was most recently accused of possibly having a hand in the August 10 assault on a correspondent for the opposition daily “Haykakan Zhamanak.”
The journalist, Lusine Barseghian, was beaten up by unknown men following a series of articles that scrutinized the allegedly illicit activities of Sedrakian and other influential individuals close to the government.
While acknowledging that he was angered by Barseghian’s articles, Sedrakian strongly denied any involvement in the attack. “I don’t beat women or dead persons. I would just shave that girl’s hair and that would be it,” he told the “Aravot” daily.
Sedrakian’s exit leaves only one candidate in the Erebuni race: the district’s Deputy Mayor Armen Harutiunian. The latter is also affiliated with the HHK.