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Voting under way for mayor of Armenian capital

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  • Voting under way for mayor of Armenian capital, Turkey
    May 31 2009

    Voting under way for mayor of Armenian capital

    The results are expected on Monday.

    Sunday, 31 May 2009 13:39

    Voting was under way on Sunday for the mayor of the Armenian capital.

    The opposition Armenian National Congress hopes a victory for its
    leader, former president Levon Ter-Petrosyan, would challenge the
    authority of his successor, Serzh Sarksyan. The city accounts for 1.1
    million of Armenia's 3.2 million people.

    "I voted for Levon Ter-Petrosyan as this is just the beginning. We
    will make (him) the president," Ler Grigoryan, a 35-year-old former
    soldier, told Reuters.

    The opposition hopes to capitalise on discontent over the economy,
    which has shrunk in line with the global economic crisis and the slide
    into recession of strategic ally Russia.

    The landlocked country's GDP is forecast to contract by 5.8 percent in
    2009 and prices have crept up since the central bank floated the Dram
    currency in March.

    Sarksyan's Republican Party is backing the incumbent, Gagik
    Beglaryan. Pollsters predict a close race but say Beglaryan is
    favourite to win and some early voters said they backed him.

    "I voted for Gagik Beglaryan as he has shown himself to be a good
    mayor who really serves Yerevan's interests," said Susanna Minasyan, a
    26-year-old student.

    Ter-Petrosyan, Armenia's first president after independence from the
    Soviet Union in 1991, lost to Sarksyan in presidential elections in
    February 2008. Ter-Petrosyan's supporters cried foul, prompting
    clashes in which 10 people died, including two policemen.

    Some 770,000 Yerevan citizens are eligible to vote and results are
    expected on Monday.