YREVAN – Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan’s Civil Contract Party won local elections in most of the 36 communities in Sunday’s polls.
According to preliminary data from the Central Election Commission, the civil contract won in 25 communities, including Echmiadzin, Spitak and Jermuk, but lost the elections in several major cities.
In Masis, the election was won by a bloc led by outgoing mayor David Hambardzumian, who is accused in a criminal case.
The election in the city of Abovyan was won by a former deputy Eduard Babayan of the prosperous Armenia party. Babayan was sentenced to 3.5 years in prison in 2019, but was released under amnesty.
In Armenia’s third largest city, Vanadzor, the bloc led by former mayor Mamikon Aslanyan won 38.6% of the vote, which however means that Aslanyan can only be re-elected mayor with the support of another party. In previous elections, Mamikon Aslanyan topped the list of the former ruling Republican Party of Armenia.
The Civic Contract Party, whose list was led by Lori regional governor Aram Khachatryan, won 24.7% of the vote.
According to the Central Election Commission, the turnout was 42.48%. The most active were voters from the Tumanyan community in the Lori region, where the turnout was 69.78%. The lowest turnout was recorded in the town of Armavir in the Armavir region, where 20.73% of voters turned out to polling stations.
Residents of Tsovagyukh and Semenovka villages in Gegharkunik region boycotted the local elections. As the local leaders told the media, the villagers thus expressed their protest against the merger of their communities.
Prime Minister Pashinyan praised the quality of the elections in a Facebook post, saying the last elections were free and fair and that is more important than their results. He also said that the main priorities of his administration are currently “related to the external challenges” facing Armenia.
“I know and understand the opinion that it would have been better for us to have rigged elections, but a higher degree of [national] security, ”the Prime Minister wrote on Facebook. “But I remain convinced that it was the long-standing practice of vote rigging that eroded the state’s resilience system formed in the 1990s and… led to security catastrophes.”