The mayor of Armavir, a town 45 kilometers west of Yerevan, resigned on Friday following a series of protests against his long rule staged by local residents.
Ruben Khlghatian has run the administrative center of an Armenian province of the same name for the last 14 years. He is affiliated with former President Serzh Sarkisian’s Republican Party (HHK).
The daily and relatively small-scale protests organized by non-partisan activists began early this week. Their participants accused Khlghatian of corruption and misrule. They held him responsible for the poor state of local streets and other infrastructure.
The mayor scoffed at the protests when he spoke to RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am) on Thursday. He said that only up to 30 people are taking part in them.
The mayor tendered his resignation after the new provincial governor, Gagik Mirijanian, held separate meetings with him and the protest organizers. Mirijanian’s office said he urged both sides to show “restraint and mutual respect.”
“Gagik Mirijanian also discussed with the mayor a number of internal political issues,” the office said, adding that Khlghatian decided to step down as a result of that discussion.
Karen Grigorian, the mayor of Echmiadzin, another town in the Armavir province, faced much bigger protests throughout last week. He resigned only after the scandalous arrest on June 16 of his influential father, retired General Manvel Grigorian. The latter was charged with illegal arms possession and embezzlement.