New Yerevan Council Meets, Reinstalls Mayor

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)— Gagik Beglaryan was officially reinstalled as mayor of Yerevan on Monday as the city’s newly elected municipal legislature held its first session boycotted by the Armenian opposition.

The Council of Elders convened two days after Armenia’s Central Election Commission released the final results of the May 31 municipal elections that upheld the landslide victory of Sarkisian’s Republican Party.

According to the CEC, the Republican Party won 47.4 percent of the vote, giving it 35 of the 65 seats in the council. Under Armenian law, the top candidate of a party or bloc winning more than 40 percent of the vote shall automatically become mayor.

Astghik Gevorgian, the oldest member of the council who chaired its first meeting, cited this legal provision when she declared that Beglarian will be “deemed the elected mayor of Yerevan” from now on. Beglarian, who was appointed interim mayor by Sarkisian in March, will be formally inaugurated on Thursday.

The Council of Elders, as the city council is known, met in the absence of its 13 members supposed to represent the opposition Armenian National Congress. The official results showed the Congress getting only 17.6 percent of the vote and trailing not only the Republican Party but also the Prosperous Armenia Party. The latter will control 17 seats in the assembly.

None of the six other parties that contested the May 31 polls cleared the seven-percent vote threshold for being represented in Yerevan’s first municipal assembly in 14 years. Among them were Country of Law party, the third party represented in the Armenian government, and the Armenian Revolutionary Federation, which announced after the election that it would not sign the final CEC report and called the May 31 vote “flawed” and urged nullification of votes in precincts with high voter fraud.

The CEC, which is dominated by government supporters, rejected the demand at a meeting on Saturday. “There are no grounds to declare the elections null and void,” said Garegin Azarian, the CEC chairman.

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