ACCORDING TO ARFD REPRESENTATIVE, AUTHORITIES ARE NOT CONCERNED WITH POSSIBILITY OF OPPOSITION CANDIDATE'S ELECTION ON YEREVAN MAYOR'S POST

Noyan Tapan
March 31, 2009

YEREVAN, MARCH 31, NOYAN TAPAN. In Yerevan Council of Elders elections
Dashnaktsutiun rather attaches importance to the whole electoral roll
than the person heading the list. Artyusha Shahbazian, the Secretary
of the National Assembly ARFD faction, mentioned at the March 31
press conference that for the first time not only Yerevan Mayor,
but also Council of Elders being Yerevan's representative body will
be elected. Representation of a great number of political forces in
the latter will lead to balancing of forces, will ensure efficient
work and possibility of general control.

Asked "will the party be able to receive more than 7% votes, if the
list is headed by Artsvik Minasian, whom society does not know well,"
A. Shahbazian said that in the past years from Dashnaktsutiun's team
no one was so active as he. He affirmed that both the ARFD list and
candidate number one have a great potential.

A. Shahbazian considers improbable assistance to RPA candidate in
Yerevan Mayor's elections. According to him, the coalition does
not oblige the parties making part of it to become each other's
adjuncts. Coalition parties can run for the elections individually,
as for political forces having something to say it is an occasion of
manifesting themselves.

According to A. Shahbazian, there is a tendency of on the one hand,
very much politicizing the elections and on the other hand, presenting
them outside of the political sphere. Political parties' participation,
exclusively proportional system, election programs already make Mayor's
elections political. The future Yerevan Council of Elders cannot be
outside of political processes, and though not directly, nevertheless
in some way they will show their attitude on issues important for the
country. However, at the same time no political change is expected
in the country as a result of Mayor's elections, as the elected body
will be subordinate to the Prime Minister and government.

According to the ARFD representative, all political forces taking
part in the elections to some extent will be represented in the
future Council of Elders' staff. As to the Mayor, the authorities
are not concerned with the possibility of opposition representative's
taking that post. Irrespective of the fact who will become Mayor the
body will cooperate will the executive power, as it is difficult to
imagine that Yerevan Mayor's Office will carry out policy contradicting
President's or government's policy.

The ARFD faction Secretary called media for not considering this press
conference the start of party's entering the election campaign. He said
that ARFD Supreme Body representative Armen Rustamian was appointed
head of party's election headquarters, and the election program will
be publicized soon.