As was the case last year, the country’s leading opposition groups largely ignored the elections.
In particular, the ruling party was defeated by the incumbent mayors of two towns and a rural community facing corruption charges rejected by them as politically motivated charges. One of them, Harutiun Manucharian, has been under arrest for almost a year.
Manucharian has run Berd, a town in northern Tavush province, since 2012. He is seeking reelection despite being in detention.
A bloc led by Manucharian won a comfortable majority in the new local council empowered to elect the head of the recently expanded community comprising not only Berd but also surrounding villages.
Civil Contract suffered a similar setback in Kajaran, an industrial town in southeastern Syunik province, at the hands of another opposition bloc led by incumbent Mayor Manvel Paramazian. The latter was arrested last fall but freed on bail this spring while standing trial on charges strongly denied by him.
Paramazian was one of several Syunik mayors who actively challenged Pashinian following Armenia’s defeat in the 2020 war with Azerbaijan. Most of them, including Goris Mayor Arush Arushanian, were indicted and arrested last year.
Arushanian’s bloc scored a landslide victory in a local election held last October. He was set free five months later.
Also defeating the ruling party on Sunday was the incumbent mayor of Ani, a major rural community in northwestern Shirak province. Artak Gevorgian was charged in 2019 with misappropriating 650,000 drams ($1,570) in public funds.
Civil Contract was also narrowly defeated in the northern town of Alaverdi by the Yerevan-based party Aprelu Yerkir. But both parties fell short of an overall majority in the local council.
Pashinian’s party fared even worse in Tashir, another town in northern Lori province. Its incumbent mayor swept to a landslide victory.
Civil Contract chose not to join the mayoral race in Chambarak, a small town in eastern Gegharkunik province. A bloc led by its incumbent mayor ran unopposed and easily retained control of the Chambarak administration. Voter turnout there stood at around 50 percent, according to official results.
Civil Contract won most votes in nine other communities, including the towns of Sisian, Talin and Jrvezh. In Sisian, it needs to reach a power-sharing deal with at least one other election contender in order to be able to install the town’s new mayor.
In Jrvezh, which is located just northeast of Yerevan, the ruling party ran unopposed. Only 27 percent of local eligible voters participated in the weekend ballot.