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Kocharian Ally To Take Part In Yerevan Elections


Opposition lawmaker Andranik Tevanian
Opposition lawmaker Andranik Tevanian

A movement initiated by a lawmaker from an opposition bloc led by former President Robert Kocharian has announced its participation in upcoming municipal elections in Yerevan.

The Mother Armenia movement, which strongly criticizes the current government of Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian for its perceived conciliatory policy on Nagorno-Karabakh, said it considered the ballot due in September as a stepping stone in achieving a regime change at the national level.

Andranik Tevanian, a member of the parliamentary opposition Hayastan faction who currently leads the recently formed movement, on Tuesday made it clear that national issues would be high on the agenda of Mother Armenia in the election campaign due to start later this month.

“The illegitimate policy of Nikol Pashinian, which is a threat to the security of Armenia and Artsakh [Nagorno-Karabakh – ed.], is unacceptable to us. We do not accept Artsakh as part of Azerbaijan and we want to prevent the downfall of Armenia,” Tevanian said in a video message.

Tevanian said that the movement views the elections in Yerevan, Armenia’s capital where about a third of the country’s voters are concentrated, as an opportunity for “a complete power change to get our country out of this situation.”

The Mother Armenia movement was set up in May. According to its founders, it is a supra-party movement. The members of the initiative group declare that “the goal of the movement is not coming to power, but the primary task is to defend the national-state interests of Armenia, Artsakh and the Armenian people by removing the current regime.”

The vote in the elections to Yerevan’s Municipal Assembly is due on September 17. It will proceed according to party lists, with campaigns of political parties and blocs and their candidates for mayor customarily more focused on local rather than national issues beginning on August 23.

The ruling Civil Contract party is to be led in the elections by current Deputy Mayor Tigran Avinian who formerly also served as deputy prime minister in the Pashinian government.

Several other political parties and groups, notably Aprelu Yerkir (Country for Living), Bright Armenia, the National Progress Party of former Mayor Hayk Marutian and others have also announced their bids to participate in the elections.

Two key opposition blocs affiliated with former presidents Kocharian and Serzh Sarkisian have not yet revealed their plans concerning their possible participation in the Yerevan elections. Nor is it clear whether they will support Mother Armenia or any other political party or bloc, which will have until August 13 to register for the elections.

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