ARF Names Candidate for Yerevan Mayor

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)–The Armenian Revolutionary Federation named on Thursday its candidate for Yerevan’s mayor to be chosen by the first municipal assembly in almost 15 years.

Artsvik Minasian, a parliament deputy from the ARF, told RFE/RL that the party represented in the national government has picked him as its top candidate in the elections of the assembly slated for May 31.

“I was offered to be included on the [party’s electoral] list,” he said. “This is the party’s decision and I have to comply with it.”

Minasian declined to comment on his chances of becoming the next Yerevan mayor. He said only that ARF is looking to improve on its performance in the last national elections.

According to official vote results, the ARF won about 13 percent of the vote in the May 2007 parliamentary elections. One of its top leaders, Vahan Hovannisian, came in fourth, with 6 percent of the votes in the Armenian presidential election held less than a year later.

Minasian also would not be drawn on who he thinks will be his and his party’s main rival in the upcoming municipal polls. “We are contesting the elections to get votes to be given to the Armenian Revolutionary Federation and its pre-election program, and I don’t want to play up or play down anyone,” he said.

President Serzh Sarkisian’s Republican Party of Armenia, the ARF’s senior partner in the governing coalition, has already expressed its intention to win a majority in the Yerevan assembly and reinstall Republican member Gagik Beglarian as city mayor.

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