Well, what seem to be the semi-final results of the Yerevan municipal elections are in. According to Hetq Online, here are the percentages of votes earned for each political force:
Republican Party of Armenia – 47.39%
Prosperous Party of Armenia – 22.71%
HAK (Armenian National Congress) – 17.41%
Parties that did not win enough votes (7% of the total counted) to hold representation in the 65-seat municipal assembly include:
Orinats Yerkir (Rule of Law Party) – 5.22%
ARF-Dashnaktsutiun – 4.65%
People’s Party – 2.14%
Socialist-Workers Party – .49%
So Gagik Beglaryan will certainly continue in his post as mayor.
Although I think it is very positive that the opposition has managed to win seats in the municipal assembly, I am disturbed that the Republican party managed to secure so many votes. As it already stands the party is for the most part running the government and holds the majority of seats in the National Assembly. The injustice that citizens so often complain about, the same that the Republican party has been claiming to dispel during its campaign in the last month, will undoubtedly continue unabated. The chauvinist, I-can-do-whatever-I-want attitude that so many men in power or men who are connected to those in power foster will only get worse, with illegal activities, such as ill-planned construction projects and dubious business dealings, continuing.
There was hope that with a win by the opposition in elections which were indeed free and fair, some of this lawlessness would be resolved with stricter accountability for the rule of law. But Beglaryan managed to sway some naive voters by putting down new asphalt on roadways or with insignificant city-wide aesthetic projects. There were already rumors of vote buying long before the elections, and some information about that has been reported by news sources. In the next few days there will undoubtedly be more detailed information coming forth about flaws in the election process.
Late last night as I was trying to find up-to-date news information about the Yerevan municipal elections I noticed that the Web site for A1Plus, which regularly updates its pages, was conspicuously unavailable. When the media is suspiciously unable to provide news while the vote counting process is underway (there were also reports during the day of journalists being assaulted at the polls), it’s a clear sign that something is definitely wrong with the elections.
So basically I don’t see anything fruitful coming out of this election outcome. The Republican party, which has a bad reputation for corruption, has a firm grasp of most positions of power in the country. And considering that many of their members seem to have dubious backgrounds, with some rumored to have links to the underworld, the apathy amongst Yerevan citizens will most likely continue to flourish unabated.
But maybe I missed something. What’s to come next?