Residents of Yerevan, the capital city of Armenia will be heading to the polls on May 14 to elect a new City Council (Council of Elders) for a four year term. Only three political forces are running for the 65-seat council that will be elected by a party-list proportional representation system. They include the Republican Party of Armenia, the opposition Yelq Bloc and the newly-formed Yerkir Tsirani Party. The majority of political parties in Armenia, including those who ran for parliamentary elections on April 2, opted not to participate in these elections.
The election campaign was launched on April 21 and will run through May 12.
During the previous Yerevan City Council elections (May 2013), the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (RPA) won 56 percent of the votes (42 seats); Prosperous Armenia 23 percent (17 seats) and Barev Yerevan Bloc won 8 percent (six seats). With a clear majority, the RPA appointed Taron Margaryan as Mayor of Yerevan.
At that time, seven political parties took part in the race: the RPA. Barev Yerevan Bloc, Armenian National Congress, Prosperous Armenia, Armenian Revolutionary Federation, Rule of Law and Arakelutyun Party.
Following the declaration of independence in 1991, the Mayor of Yerevan was appointed by the country’s president. However, a Referendum on a package of Constitutional amendments in 2005, determined that “the peculiarities of local self-government and formation of local self-government bodies in the City of Yerevan shall be defined by the law. A law may provide for either direct or indirect elections of the Mayor of Yerevan.”
Hence, on May 31, 2009, the first elections in Yerevan took place where the Republican Party of Armenia won a majority and their candidate Gagik Beglaryan was elected as mayor. Beglaryan was later forced to resign just over a year later following an assault on an official (from the President’s protocol department) during a concert in the capital in December, 2010.
The current mayor of Yerevan is RPA member Taron Margaryan, who was number two on that party's national electoral list for the April 2 parliamentary election.
There are 841,973 registered voters in Yerevan, constituting approximately 35 percent of the entire electorate of the country.
Yerevan is the financial, educational and cultural center and a major regional transportation hub of the country. It accounts for 42.1 percent of the country’s GDP and has 1,076,500 residents. The capital has a diversified economy and accounts for 53.0 percent of the construction sector, 82.6 percent of retail trade, 85.5 percent of services, 77.6 percent of residential buildings and 33.2 percent of the hotel industry.
Yerevan Municipality’s annual budget for 2017 is just over 185 million USD.
Number of candidates
Yelq Bloc - 63
Yerkir Tsirani - 50
Republican Party of Armenia - 195
Percentage of female candidates
Yelq Bloc - 33%
Yerkir Tsirani - 57%
Republican Party of Armenia - 25%
The Parties in the Running
1. The YELQ Bloc is comprised of three political parties: Civil Contract, Republic Party and Bright Armenia. The three leaders of the parties (Nikol Pashinyan, Aram Sargsyan and Edmon Marukyan respectively) signed a memorandum of understanding in 2016 agreeing to participate as a bloc in the parliamentary election. During the parliamentary election of April 2, they received 7.78 percent of the vote, securing nine seats in parliament.
The top ten names on the bloc’s list:
Nikol Pashinyan - Member of Parliament
Arayik Harutyunyan - Yerevan State University professor
Davit Khajakian - Synopsis Armenia
Anahit Bakhshyan - National Education Institute
Ashot Atyan - Unemployed
Alen Simonyan - Unemployed
Ani Khachatryan- Unemployed
Ani Smsonyan - LHK Press Secretary
Tigran Avinyan - Director, Igityan Company
Sergey Ghahramanyan - Synopsis Armenia
Campaign Slogan: Dear Yerevan, There is a Way Out
23 of the 63 candidates on the Yelq list are unemployed, there are eight non-partisan candidates, 29 are memebers of the Civil Contract Party, 17 from Bright Armenia, eight are from the Republic Party.
2. Yerkir Tsirani (Country of Apricot) registered officially as a political party just ahead of the Yerevan City Elections. Its leader, Zaruhi Postanjyan was a former member of the Heritage Party of Armenia and a Member of Parliament since 2007.
The top ten on the party's list:
Zaruhi Postanjyan - Member of Parliament
Mnatsakan Parakshiev - Businessman
Sona Aghekyan - Teacher
Hayk Petrosyan - Programmer
Marina Khachatryan - Doctor
Karapet Aghajanyan - Lawyer
Tigran Pashabezyan - Historian
Lilia Dilanyan - Lecturer
Vahan Hamazaspyan - Computer Scientist
Gayane Davtyan - Lecturer
Campaign Slogan: Human Warmth to the City of the Sun
14 of the 50 candidates on the Yerkir Tsirani list are non-partisan, all remaining candidates are members of the newly registered Yerkir Tsirani Party. The party listed its candidates' professions and not place and/or position of employment.
3. Republican Party of Armenia has been effectively ruling the country since 1999. It won a majority in the April 2 parliamentary elections with over 49 percent of the vote and is set to rule the country for the next five years.
The top ten names on the party's list:
Taron Margaryan - Mayor of Yerevan
Smbad Lputyan - Director, Armenia’s Chess Academy, City Councillor
Hovik Musayelyan - Synopsis Armenia
Astghik Gevorgyan - Armenian Journalists Union
Ara Yernjakyan - Yerevan State Chamber Theater
Martin Vardazaryan - Komitas State Conservatory
Levon Igityan - National Center of Aesthetics
Anna Asatryan - National Academy of Sciences
Yervand Erzingyan - Armenia’s Public Television Symphonic Orchestra
Mikael Poghosyan - Team Productions
Campaign Slogan: For Yerevan
24 out of the 195 candidates on the Republican list are unemployed. 41 are non-partisan, five are from the United National Party, five from the Christian Democrat Party and two from the Constitutional Law