Local Election, National Interest: Oppositional and governmental candidates to compete for the mayor post in Hrazdan

Local Election, National Interest: Oppositional and governmental candidates to compete for the mayor post in Hrazdan

Photolure

Sasun Mikayelyan (left), Aram Danielyan

Both politicians and analysts in Armenia describe Sunday’s mayoral vote in the town of Hrazdan as a test of RPA authority for the May parliamentary elections.

Republican Party (RPA) member Aram Danielyan, the incumbent mayor of Hrazdan, who has been running the town for ten years, and Sasun Mikayelyan, Armenian National Congress (ANC) member and former lawmaker, will seek the post in the town with about 44,500 are registered to vote, although nearly 40 percent currently don’t reside there.

Earlier this year political technologies expert Armen Badalyan said the Hrazdan election is very important for the two political forces both politically and in terms of applying election techniques.

“These elections will become a serious test before the elections to the National Assembly. If the ANC candidate manages to win in Hrazdan it will be a certain touchstone for the ANC to see its weak and strong points as a structure purely in technological terms,” said Badalyan.

Political analyst Yervand Bozoyan says that if the candidate of the ruling RPA fails in the mayoral elections in Hrazdan as happened in Ijevan’s mayoral elections, then it would have a moral-psychological influence on the authorities. (In November, an RPA-backed candidate lost in a local race in Ijevan to a candidate representing the governing coalition’s second largest party, Prosperous Armenia (PAP).

On Thursday, Mikayelyan at his pre-election rally blamed the urban and provincial authorities, saying that they violate their administrative resources making pressure upon citizens and terrorizing them to vote in favor of the Republican.

“If they [the authorities] try to do stuffing, open voting, and the so-called ‘carousel voting’, the consequences will be very tough. I have entered this struggle for fair elections, and the elections must be fair. If they distribute money, a very bad thing will happen, I’ll go to any length [to stop it],” said the 54-year-old politician Mikayelyan, a native of the Hrazdan area who enjoys considerable support locally.

On Thursday the Unites States Embassy to Armenia confirmed that it had appealed to the Central Electoral Commission of Armenia, asking to observe the election.

“We have appealed to the Central Electoral Commission, however it refused us. We expect to observe the upcoming [parliamentary] elections and believe that such actions are important,” Taguhi Jahukyan, Spokeswoman of the US Ambassador to Armenia, said, however not being able to explain why the Central Electoral Commission refused. The CEC refused comment.