The new electoral system, however, caused a political crisis both in Gyumri and Vanadzor. According to the results of the elections, four parties - the Republican Party of Armenia, the ARF Dashnaktsutyun, "Bright Armenia" and the "Armenian Revival" - appeared in Vanadzor City Council. Although the Republican Party was the first in the number of votes received, the mandates in the city council were not enough for RPA candidate Mamikon Aslanyan to become a mayor. During the first sitting of the newly elected council of Vanadzor, the RPA had formed an alliance with the ARF, and the "Bright Armenia" party, which was in the second place as a result of the elections, signed a memorandum of cooperation with the "Prosperous Armenia" and "Armenian Revival" one of the provisions of which was to defend Christ Maroukyan, the candidate for the head of the community council, who was the leader of the Council of Elders' Council at the first session of the newly elected council of Vanadzor.
As a result, according to political arrangements, Mamikon Aslanyan, representing the RPA, had 15 votes before the council vote, and Christ Marukyan, representative of Bright Armenia Party had 18 votes.
However, on October 10, during the voting at the first session of the Council of Elders, Mamikon Aslanyan received 19 votes, and Christ Marukyan - 14.
The Bright Armenia Party, the Armenian Revival Party and the Prosperous Armenia Party announced that they had not violated the agreement, voted as it was agreed in advance, and decided to boycott the council meetings, which continues to date. The Republican Party of Armenia and the ARF Dashnaktsutyun, despite being a majority, still hold council meetings.
A discussion entitled “A Year after Elections of Vanadzor City Council: Observations and Assessments”was held by Media Center in Vanadzor on October 2, attended by the representatives of the political forces and civil society representatives. Armen Matinyan, Member of “The Republican Party of Armenia” Faction of Vanadzor Council of Elders, said that within the framework of RA Law on Local Self Government, they manage the city, but in their opinion, it would be more efficient and positive if the boycotting political forces participated in the council meetings.
“The law gives us the opportunity to convene sessions and make decisions. There are some ambiguous points in the law based on which the Bright Armenia Party applied to the Constitutional Court. But we still think that boycotting parties' participation in the council meetings would be very effective for the city.”
Christ Marukyan, Head of “Bright Armenia” Faction of Vanadzor Council of Elders, agrees that there are contradictory points in the law, based on which the RPA convenes sessions which will be difficult to regard as illegal. According to him, by the end of 2015, the change of the law on Local Self-Government Bodies introduced ambiguity into the provisions of the law, in some cases contradictions. However, Christ Marukyan draws attention to the circumstance that although they hold sessions, they do not have the majority.
“We did not see the majority by which Mamikon Aslanian was elected a mayor. No one disputes that Mamikon Aslanyan was elected but it is disputable if he has the majority to govern the city.”
Gayane Kalantaryan, Member of the Republican Party faction of Vanadzor Council, says that if there is no problem legally, there will hardly be a problem with legitimacy. The latter expressed an opinion that a problem might arise in the case of one force, so it calls for the boycotting forces to stop and participate in the city governance.
“Of course, when managed by one force, decisions can be taken differently and when several forces participate, it is likely to take decisions effectively.”
Derenik Malkhasyan, editor/events coordinator at “Media Center”
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