Ashot Hayrapetian, the mayor of Kapan, has announced his resignation hours after the visit of Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian to the southern Armenian town.
The information was confirmed to RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am) by the mayor’s spokeswoman Armine Avagian.
Premier Pashinian was in Kapan as part of his tour of the Syunik province on Thursday. There he got a warm reception as held a public rally in the town’s central square where hundreds of local residents had an opportunity to pose questions to him. At the same time, Kapan residents booed at the town’s mayor, a member of the former ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK), who stood next to Pashinian during the rally.
“You were installed here by the HHK; your regime is in the past,” Kapan residents shouted to Hayrapetian in the square, showing their anger.
After announcing his resignation Hayrapetian wrote in a Facebook post: “My ideas about how to continue programs for the community and expectations of the public are different.”
Hayrapetian is one of several HHK-affiliated mayors to have resigned since the change of government in May.
HHK leader Serzh Sarkisian, who had been president for 10 years, moved to the newly powerful post of prime minister in mid-April but had to step down within less than a week under the pressure of peaceful street protests led by then-opposition lawmaker Pashinian.
Pashinian was voted in as prime minister on May 8 by a parliament still dominated by the HHK. The Sarkisian-led party officially lost its parliamentary majority in the subsequent weeks as several lawmakers quit its faction.
As the focus of protests shifted to local government bodies, leaders of several Armenian communities, including the majors of Armavir, Hrazdan and Echmiadzin, resigned in recent weeks.
Activists in Yerevan have also been demanding the resignation of the Armenian capital’s mayor Taron Markarian, a senior figure in the former ruling party.
Meanwhile, in an unrelated development the mayor of Masis, Davit Hambartsumian, who is also affiliated with the HHK, was arrested on Friday on charges of “organizing mass disturbances and committing violence and an act of hooliganism with the use of weapons or items used as weapons.”
Hambartsumian was already briefly arrested in May on another criminal charge stemming from his alleged involvement in violent attacks against opposition supporters who protested against Sarkisian in April.