Saturday, 4 May 2013

Will Yerevan election bring what Armenia presidential election fails to achieve?

Here we are. Less than a day before crucial Yerevan council and mayor election. This could either be the ‘official’ end of the process started with #armvote13 presidential election in February or its transformation to a different level, if opposition takes control of Armenia capital.

Low numbers for recent rallies of main opposition parties, including HAK (Armenian National Congress party) and ex-president Levon Ter-Petrosyan, are indicative of general mood of disillusionment in political processes in Armenia. Obviously, I am not even considering here any attempt at comparison with gatherings by ruling Republican party, as we all know that people go there by orders rather than voluntarily.

*Hope* for free and fair election may only materialise if the election observers from all opposition parties and civil society stick to their promise of putting aside party or other differences for the task of proper monitoring. In this sense it was good to hear ex-president Ter-Petrosyan calling for the same. However, whether this will turn into reality remains to be seen. Also, good to see so many election observers lined up for the 5th May election.

*Hope* for change will come if silent majority decides to vote and cast their protest vote, just like they did during presidential election in February, despite disillusionment in political parties. We will know about it in a matter of less than 24 hours.

Opposition mayor will be a huge contribution to changes in Armenia. Having Republican party 're-elected' means that we will not witness any substantial changes in the following 4-5 years, only cosmetic ones.

On a personal sympathy level, among all candidates I support Armen Martirosyan for the position of mayor, although quite a few young people in opposition HAK list are also highly sympathetic to me.

So I would urge anyone to go cast their vote and vote for either #barevolution movement “Barev Yerevan” bloc, headed by Armen Martirosyan of opposition Heritage party (of presidential challenger ex-FM Raffi Hovhannisyan), or opposition HAK party lists.

[for a good roundup of Yerevan election process, read Yerevan’s May 5 Election: Stakes and Specifics by Tamara Voskanian in Asbarez]