Friday, Aug. 17, I watched the rally that Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan called on the occasion of the 100th day of his becoming the Prime Minister of Armenia.
The Republican Square and the adjacent streets were packed “wall to wall” which proves that he has not lost his popularity with the PEOPLE with whose support he became the Prime Minister.
During the whole lengthy speech, he was assertive and spoke more like a populist leader. In general, he touched upon almost every aspect of Armenia’s social-economic, and security issues. He never forgot to remind the PEOPLE that he became the Prime Minister because of them and accountable to them and promised never to betray their trust.
He also stressed that he will not hesitate to use the referendum for major decisions as well. Մեր կյանքում առաջիկայում համատեղ ջանքերով պիտի ուժեղացնենք հանրաքվեի ինստիտուտը և ժողովուրդը բազմաթիվ որոշումներ կայացնի հանրաքվեով: Առաջիկայում այնպիսի փոփոխություններ պետք է կայացվեն, որ կարևորագույն իրադարձությունների վերաբերյալ կառավարությունն ու ժողովուրդը միասին որոշում կայացնեն հանրաքվեներով: Սա է հեղափոխության երկրորդ ալիքը
The one issue that he stressed more than once was the March 1 2008 killing of 10 Armenian citizens in Yerevan by the security forces of Armenia. Shamefully, this tragic event was never been investigated. He promised to do so and declared nobody is immune from the prosecution. Որևէ մեկը չի խուսափի մարտի 1-ին 10 մարդու սպանելու և պետական հեղաշրջում իրականացնելու պատասխանատվությունից.
To improve the government efficiency, he stated that, it is necessary to significantly reduce the size of the government and the government departments.
Հայաստանում չպետք է լինի 17 նախարարություն: Հայաստանում նախարարությունների թիվը պետք է շոշափելիորեն կրճատվի: Նաև պետական կառավարման մարմինների թիվը էականորեն պետք է կրճատվի, որ կարողանանք դա արդյունավետ անել:
Needless to say, this last point should also apply to the Municipal government (Council of Elders) of city of Yerevan. Unfortunately, the snap election process has already started and so far there is no talk, or time, for reducing the size of the Council.
(Currently, the Municipal Council is composed of 46 members from RPA, 14 members from YELK Alliance, 5 members from Yerkir Tsirany. A total of 65 members).
As an unqualified opinion and comparing it with the size of Toronto’s municipal council, it seems there is plenty of room for a major downsizing
The snap election for the Yerevan Council of Elders will take place on September 23. The deadline for submission of applications is September 3. The election campaign season will start on September 10 and conclude on September 21. This was decided at yesterday’s (Aug.18) meeting of the Central Electoral Commission of Armenia.
This election was triggered by the resignation of Mayor Taron Margaryan on May 9. He came under pressure to step down after mass protests brought down Prime Minster Serj Sargsyan and his government. (Taron Margaryan was a crony of Serj Sargsyan)
The unofficial municipal election campaign did start right after the resignation of Daron Margaryan. Four Political Parties (Party) have already revealed their candidates leading their party lists.
Haik Marutyan will lead the Civil Contract Party list.
Artak Zeynalyan, (the current minister of justice), will lead the list of Bright Armenia and Republic Parties.
(Here it is worth mentioning that, in the 2017 parliamentary election Artak Zeynalyan was elected a Member of Parliament from the YELK Alliance composed of the Civil Contract Party, Bright Armenia Party, and Republic Party. It seems that YELK currently is an Alliance of two Parties only, and an opponent to their previous partner Nikol Pashinyan’s Civil Contract Party
.Naira Zohrabyan will lead the Prosperous Armenia Party-list.
Zaruhi Postanjyan, will lead the list of Yerkir Tsirani Party.
Now that the date is announced I am sure the other Parties soon will reveal their candidates to lead their Party lists. (The person heading the winning municipal council ticket will become Yerevan’s next mayor).
“The Yerevan Council of Elders’ elections are the first [large-]scale elections to take place during our government,” Pashinyan said. “We hope all of us realize that these elections need to be exceptional, in terms of legitimacy, transparency, and justice. The ensuring of freedom, democracy, and legitimacy of elections is a priority issue for us. I, of course, am convinced that this will be so.”
Apart from conducting a fair and transparent election, this election will be also the litmus test for Nikol Pashinyan and his Civil Contract Party, and a harbinger for the future snap parliamentary elections.
Although it is up to Haik Marutyan to lead the list to victory, win or lose, the credit or the blame will go to Pashinyan and his Social Contract Party.
Needless to say, Marutyan cannot afford to rely only on the popular support of Nikol Pashinyan. It will be a challenge for Marutyan to find a way to bring that massive popular support, especially the young generation’s support, from the street to the ballot box.
To be able to do that, he must set up an “electoral machine”, enlist credible candidates in every electoral district, and train young volunteers to actively participate in every phase of the electoral process. A challenging task indeed.
Zohrab Bebo Sarkissian