Presidential Administration Checks ANM Controlled Yerevan District

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)–The oversight service of the Armenian presidential administration has launched a comprehensive audit of the central district in the capital Yerevan controlled by the Armenian National Movement–the party of the former President Levon Ter-Petrosyan.

Ararat Zurabian–head of the district and the ANM’s deputy chairman–told RFE/RL that the check-up is "no coincidence," saying that it might be politically motivated.

While refusing to discount other versions–Zurabian suggested that it may have been prompted by the ANM’s arch-rival–National Democratic Union–whose senior member David Vartanian is chief of the oversight service.

Zurabian said he does not fear the check-up as the central district is being run properly and efficiently. Shortly after Vartanian’s appointment last month–ANM chairman Vano Siradeghian predicted a crackdown on ANM officials serving in the local authorities.

But Vartanian on Thursday dismissed the speculations–attributing the audit to an unusually high number of complaints regarding the district’s administration. He said most of the protest letters his service has received cite breaches of law in Zurabian’s district. He accused ANM leaders of trying to gain a "political insurance" to protect themselves against possibly unpleasant revelations.

The decision regarding the audit came after the sacking last Saturday of yet another top ANM official–head of Yerevan’s southern Shengavit district. Some media reports have claimed that Bagrat Andreasian was forced to quit under threat of criminal charges.

In his strongest yet attack on the government–Siradeghian last week charged that members of his party are being ousted in mass from local self-government bodies. The ANM–which came to power in 1990–lost its ruling status last February after the resignation of President Ter-Petrosyan–its unofficial leader.

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