Hayastan had decided not join the mayoral race, with some of its representatives citing grave security challenges facing Armenia as well as Nagorno-Karabakh. Media reports attributed the de facto boycott to a lack of consensus within the alliance on its potential mayoral candidate.
Andranik Tevanian, a Hayastan parliamentarian, disagreed with the boycott, resigning from the National Assembly and setting up his own bloc called Mayr Hayastan (Mother Armenia) to run for Yerevan mayor. The bloc’s main campaign message is that an opposition victory in the elections scheduled for September 17 would pave the way for regime change in the country.
Hayastan’s parliamentary group discussed the vote during a meeting chaired by Kocharian. In an ensuing statement, it said they decided to back Tevanian’s bloc in the polls. The statement did not specify whether Kocharian or other senior Hayastan figures will actively participate in the election campaign.
Kocharian has kept a low profile in recent months, raising questions about his political future. The 68-year-old ex-president’s politically active son Levon was present at Tevanian’s inaugural campaign rally held on Wednesday.
Other major mayoral candidates include Tigran Avinian, Yerevan’s deputy mayor representing the ruling Civil Contract party, former Mayor Hayk Marutian and former Labor Minister Mane Tandilian leading the opposition Aprelu Yerkir party. Avinian said on Thursday that Civil Contract expects to win a majority of seats in the city council that will appoint the next mayor of the Armenian capital.