Opposition Parties Reach Post-Election Deal in Vanadzor

VANADZOR, Armenia (RFE/RL)—The likelihood of the ruling Republican Party (RPA) losing control over Vanadzor increased on Oct. 6, after two opposition parties that did well in a local election reached an agreement on the next mayor of Armenia’s third largest city.

Krist Marukyan, the mayoral candidate of the opposition Bright Armenia party, speaks to journalists at a polling station in Vanadzor on Oct. 2

The RPA won most votes in the municipal election held on Sunday but fell short of an absolute majority in the new city council that will choose the Vanadzor mayor.

The party headed by President Serge Sarkisian gained 13 council seats, compared with a total of 18 seats won by its three main local challengers: Bright Armenia, Armenian Renaissance, and Prosperous Armenia (PAP) parties. The two remaining councilors will represent the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF)

Bright Armenia, which won 10 council seats, offered on Oct. 3 to cut a power-sharing deal with Armenian Renaissance and the PAP. It went on to reject far-reaching conditions for such a deal that were set by Armenian Renaissance.

Armenian Renaissance, which will have five seats in the Vanadzor legislature, appeared to have dropped those conditions on Thursday, saying that it will back Bright Armenia’s mayoral candidate, Krist Marukyan.

In a statement, the party formerly called Orinats Yerkir said the decision is the result of “long negotiations” held by its leader Artur Baghdasaryan with Marukyan and his brother Edmon, who is Bright Armenia’s founding chairman.

The statement cited the need for major “changes” in Armenia and the fact that most Vanadzor voters backed opposition parties in Sunday’s election.

It remained unclear whether the PAP will join the agreement and thus make Marukyan’s election a forgone conclusion. PAP representatives said earlier this week that they are considering Bright Armenia’s coalition offer.

Armenian Renaissance’s apparent U-turn followed an embarrassing scandal involving its mayoral candidate in Vanadzor, Arkadi Peleshyan. The latter was detained on Oct. 5 after being accused of a violent assault connected with the municipal vote.

Peleshyan was later set free after signing a formal pledge not to leave the city until a criminal investigation into the incident is over.

Source: Armenian Weekly
Link: Opposition Parties Reach Post-Election Deal in Vanadzor

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