Yerevan Mayor’s Election ‘Due in Late 2009′

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)–The first-ever indirect elections of Yerevan’s mayor, controversially delayed by the central government, are unlikely to be held before the end of next year, the chairman of Armenia’s Central Election Commission (CEC) indicated on Monday.

Unlike all other local communities, Yerevan has no municipal assembly and is governed by an official appointed by the president of the republic. Its one million or so residents have only been able to elect the chief executives of the city’s ten administrative districts along with their “councils of elders.”

Under one of the amendmen’s to Armenia’s constitution enacted in November 2005, future Yerevan mayors will be chosen by a municipal council elected by universal suffrage. The elected mayors will have the authority to appoint all district chiefs.

The Armenian government was expected to push through parliament early this year a bill stemming from the constitutional reform and necessary for the conduct of the municipal vote. However, the law was only last month debated and adopted by the National Assembly in the first reading. Its final passage may still take months.

Garegin Azarian, the CEC chairman close to governing circles, spoke of late 2009 as the most likely date of the municipal polls. Still, he cautioned that his forecast is “only a presumption.”

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