Armenians went to the polls in 26 municipalities on Sunday to take part in local administrative elections. Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan’s Civil Contract party registered losses in some key elections. The prime minister called the results a “victory for democracy.”
In the Azadamout community of Tavush Province, the early count indicated that Armenian Revolutionary Federation member Vahagn Alaverdyan was the clear winner, received 1046 votes for and 36 votes against. Alaverdyan was the acting community leader—mayor—and he ran unopposed. A declared second candidate for the post, Sevada Balasyan, pulled out of the race ahead of Sunday’s election.
There was low voter turnout with the Central Electoral Commission announcing a 44.36 percent—32,523—of eligible voters participating. The highest voter turnout was registered in Gorayk where 76.6 percent of the voters—1,408—participated in the election. The lowest voter turnout was in Haykavan community, where 970 people turned out to vote, making up 16.49 percent of eligible voters in that area.
One of the races that were being watched closely was the mayoral election in Abovian where 40.83 percent of registered voters participated and delivered a victory for the incumbent Vahagn Gevorkyan of businessman Gagik Tsarukian’s Prosperous Armenia party. He garnered 47.4 percent of the votes and was opposed by Pashinyan’s Civil Contract member who lost the election by only 395 votes.
Last week, Pashinyan went to Abovyan and personally campaigned for his candidate. In response to the results, on Monday the prime minister said: “There were elections in Abovyan and democracy has won. That’s what’s most important.” He stressed that the loss in Abovyan in no way indicates that the ruling party has lost its stature.
In the Spandaryan and Anoushavan villages of Shirak Province, Civil Contract candidates were defeated by the incumbent community leaders both of whom were ex members of the former ruling Republican Party of Armenia members.
“We led the revolution precisely for this reason,” said Pashinyan. “In some places the ruling party candidates win, in some cases they lose.” Before the revolution, he said, all political forces were talking about abolishing the monopoly that Republican Party of Armenia held on the elections.
“With these elections, the Republic of Armenia, once again registered that it is a democratic country where citizens have the right to make their own selections, and the authorities are not expending illegal resources to ensure victory for its candidate,” said Pashinyan on Monday adding that in these elections, “the Revolution won and the people won.”