Businessman Gagik Tsarukian’s Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK) on Thursday nominated a senior BHK parliamentarian as its top candidate in upcoming municipal elections in Yerevan.
The mayoral candidate, Naira Zohrabian, declined to speak to the press after a meeting of the BHK’s governing board that approved her candidacy. Zohrabian said only that she will present her election campaign manifesto by the end of this week.
Another senior BHK figure, Vahe Enfiajian, said the party will be aiming for victory in the elections expected in September. “We have all the prerequisites to make the strongest showing,” he said.
The BHK chose not to participate in the last elections of Yerevan’s municipal council held in May 2017. The council reelected Taron Markarian, a senior member of then President Serzh Sarkisian’s Republican Party (HHK), as mayor.
Markarian resigned on July 9 under apparent pressure from Armenia’s new government headed by Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian. The HHK-dominated city council decided not to elect his successor, paving the way for the snap elections. The former ruling party has yet to decide whether to participate in them.
On Sunday, Pashinian’s Civil Contract party chose a prominent Armenian comedian, Hayk Marutian, as its candidate for the vacant post.
It remains unclear whether Civil Contract will contest the elections on its own or together with the two other parties making up the Yelk alliance. Those parties, Bright Armenia and Republic, are now considering fielding a joint candidate.
Also planning to join the mayoral race is the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun). But it has not yet named its mayoral candidate.
Both Dashnaktsutyun and the BHK hold ministerial posts in Pashinian’s government.