Armenia’s first president and opposition leader Levon Ter-Petrosyan will head the list of opposition Armenian National Congress candidates in Yerevan municipal election (= Yerevan mayor election). No. 2 in the list is Stepan Demirchyan. (I do not know if Ter-Petrosyan would step down after winning the election, to make Demirchyan a mayor, but this is not important right now) They will now continue formal consultations with the parliamentary opposition Heritage party for joint participation in election. I do hope that cool heads in the opposition (parliamentary + extra-parliamentary) will prevail to contest the election united.
“This is almost like presidential election, it’s a political election, and winning Yerevan municipal election will amount to regime change and restoration of constitutional order in Armenia” – this would be the main message by opposition directed at electorate. Not quite the regime change, but they have a point.
No one should underestimate the importance of capital Yerevan, where almost half of Armenian population lives. Having elected by free and fair election, Yerevan mayor would become a significant political figure in Armenia to rival president.
This decision puts the spotlight towards Yerevan mayoral election to the highest possible level and importance. This would encourage Yerevan residents to take it seriously and participate in election.
If won by the opposition, this would give us hope that future parliamentary and presidential elections would be freer and fairer, at least in Yerevan, and hopefully in the country as a whole.
I cannot imagine ruling party candidate Gagik Beglaryan (nicknamed Chorni (Black) Gago) winning this election vs Ter-Petrosyan, unless election is falsified. Not only Armenians’, but also the attention of international community would be on Yerevan, and hopefully with Ter-Petrosyan contesting the election, it would be harder, much harder to falsify it again.
This would be THE test for the authorities, and the most practical chance for them to assure Armenian citizens that they want to heal the wounds of 1 March and move forward (along with the release of political prisoners, of course). This would give a chance for real dialogue between opposition and the authorities to take place in Armenia. This could be a good news for democracy in Armenia.