The Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF, Dashnaktsutyun), an extra-parliamentary opposition party that was represented in the previous government as a junior coalition partner, held a rally in front of the Yerevan Mayor’s Office on Wednesday to express its dissatisfaction with what it sees as the poor work of the city authorities.
ARF members argued that no visible changes have been made in the city since the pro-government My Step alliance got a landslide victory in municipal elections last September and its top candidate Hayk Marutian later become mayor.
The party warned that if no improvement is achieved soon it will demand the resignation of the mayor. As the sign of warning dozens of protesters in front of the municipality building held ‘yellow cards’ in their hands.
“We see that waste disposal is getting worse day by day,” said ARF Yerevan City Committee representative Ara Rostomian, casting doubts over the efficiency of the municipality in trying to solve the issue.
The ARF believes the city authorities have failed to fulfill their election promises concerning issues of elevators, transportation, landscaping and garbage disposal.
“I don’t exclude that they mean well and want to change the situation. The problem here is that maybe they lack professionalism to be able to tackle all these problems correctly,” said Rostomian, adding that they would not be holding the protest unless at least some progress was made on some of the major issues facing the city.
The municipality does not accept the view that no positive developments have taken place in the city during the past 10 months. According to a city official, they are dealing with waste disposal, elevator and transportation issues and solutions will be provided soon.
“I acknowledge that in any case there may be complaints and naturally there are lots of problems in the city, but these problems are being solved with very clear steps and a chosen strategy,” Hakob Karapetian, a spokesman for Yerevan’s mayor, told RFE/RL’s Armenian Service (Azatutyun.am). “During this period at least fundamental changes have been introduced and these changes are yielding results even today and will give a much more multiplicative effect in the coming months and years. In particular, citizens may notice the lack of obstacles to obtaining permits in the field of construction and urban development. I mean that if applications are rejected, it is done only on legal grounds.”