A senior representative of Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian’s Yelk alliance on Tuesday called for the conduct of fresh municipal elections in Yerevan following the resignation of Mayor Taron Markarian.
Markarian, who is a senior member of former President Serzh Sarkisian’s Republican Party of Armenia (HHK), stepped down on Monday after weeks of pressure from Pashinian and his allies.
Under Armenian law, Yerevan’s municipal council has to elect a new mayor within a month. Failure to do so would give the central government the right to disband the legislature and hold snap elections in the capital.
Representatives of the HHK, which holds 46 seats in the 63-member council, declined to say on Tuesday whether it will nominate a mayoral candidate. A senior Yelk councilor, Davit Khazhakian, was confident that the former ruling party will not do that.
“It is evident that there must be pre-term elections of the city council,” Khazhakian told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am). The vote should be held in September, he said.
Yelk, which controls 14 council seats, consists of three political parties that were in opposition to Armenia’s former government. One of them, Civil Contract, is headed by Pashinian.
In Khazhakian’s words, it is not yet known whether the three Yelk parties would participate in the snap polls jointly or on their own. Nor have they discussed any candidacies for the vacant post of mayor so far, he said.
“I think such discussions will be held very soon,” added Khazhakian.
Yelk finished second in the last Yerevan elections held in May 2017. It claimed that the HHK won them through vote buying and abuse of administrative resources. Sarkisian’s party denied that.