The opposition forces actually explain the passive participation in the local elections with the scarcity of resources and obvious election results.
The voters in 32 communities of Armenia are heading to polls on Saturday to elect members and heads of local governments. Twenty of the communities are electing governors, 12 - only councils of elders; votings for both will be held only in 20 communities. The majority of the election runners are members or nominees of the ruling Republican Party of Armenia. Only three candidates – two from the Prosperous Armenia party and one from the Armenian Revolutionary Federation-Dashnaksutyun – represent the political opposition.
Local elections are crucial for achieving success at national elections. The “destiny” of national elections is determined at local elections. Elections at municipalities are the key to success for the ruling party, said Lernik Aleksanyan from the National Assembly Republican Party faction.
Aleksanyan believes the Republican Party has always prioritized local elections even when the party was not in power. The Republicans, Aleksanyan said, do not consider it imperative that all candidates be from the party.
“They may be non-partisan. It is important that the candidate is respected in the given community,” Aleksanyan said. “Often the Republicans back a non-partisan candidate instead of their party member.”
Susanna Muradyan from the Heritage Party shared insights on the pre-election campaign and overall situation.
“People expect salvation from the heavens to get rid of the current Government. In the government there are definitely charismatic candidates, but I say what how things actually are,” Muradyan said.
The speaker believes scarce financial resources have lead to the passive opposition.
“The governing party is in a relatively favorable situation as it has unlimited financial resources and administrative leverages, which the opposition is deprived of. That is why we stress the necessity of providing financial support to political parties by the state,” Muradyan said.
Another challenge the opposition has to address at local elections is the friendly-clan system. “People are voting with psychology of slaves,” she added.
According to Muradyan, officials have their preferred candidate at the elections, while the other candidates are running only as a formality. “This is done to convince the European institutions and observers that the elections are democratic.”
Arshaluys Mghdesyan, Editor-Coordinator