www.worldbulletin.net, 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.