March 16 2009

Former Armenian president and opposition leader Levon Ter-Petrosian
will run in an election late May to choose a new mayor of the ex-Soviet
republics capital Yerevan, his party said Monday.

The May 31 vote will mark the first such vote for the city's mayor,
in line with constitutional amendments adopted in 2005.

"Given that Yerevan is of significant importance in the country's
political and economic life, the capitals mayoral elections must be
seen as a key stage in restoring constitutional order," Ter-Petrosian's
Armenian National Congress said in a statement.

"The Armenian National Congress will take part in the Yerevan mayoral
election with the country's first president, Levon Ter-Petrosian,
leading the ANC list."

Ter-Petrosian and his supporters accuse the authorities of having
rigged a presidential election last year to guarantee a win for
President Serzh Sargsyan.

Ter-Petrosian told thousands of supporters at a rally on March 1,
the anniversary of last years deadly clashes, which he would not give
up his fight against Sargsyan. He would use "constitutional means"
to force early elections, he said.

Under the new Yerevan election rules, the mayor will be chosen by a
municipal council elected by city residents through party lists.

Previous mayors were named by the Armenian president.

In the country's worst political violence since independence from
the Soviet Union in 1991, 10 people were killed in clashes between
riot police and opposition supporters after the vote. Ter-Petrosian
came second.

The ruling Republican Party has declared that Yerevan's current mayor,
Gagik Belgarian, will top its party list in the municipal vote.

Ter-Petrosian was president of Armenia, a mountainous republic of
about three million people wedged between Azerbaijan, Georgia, Iran
and Turkey, from 1991 to 1998.