The recent local elections in Armenia are the last test of strength before the race for the parliament this spring. It is already known that in majority of cities, candidates that have won are supported by the ruling party. Official media speak about election transparency. Opposition accuses commissions of electoral machinations.
The results of the local elections held on 12 February are already known. In 30 major cities, victory belongs to representatives of the ruling Republican Party of Armenia HHK. The opposition accuses authorities of electoral machinations and irregularities regarding ballot counting. The HHK members refute allegations and downplay arguments of the opposition.
As Armenian media report, the Sunday voting proceeded smoothly. Local observers noted sporadic violations of procedures at polling stations. Opposition, in particular the Armenian National Congress (HAK) headed by Levon Ter-Petrosyan, points to electoral frauds, examples of ballot stuffing and artificially boosted turnout.
In Armenia, local elections take place every 5 years. The country is divided into 11 regions called “marz”. They are governed by elected governors, the only exception being Yerevan where the President personally appoints the Mayor of the city. Local authorities are elected in 49 urban centres in total. The history of Armenian councils, called Councils of Elders, go back more than 2000 years. The winter voting is a warm-up before parliamentary elections in May.
Translated by KD