2018 Yerevan City Council election

Yerevan City Council elections were held on 23 September 2018.[1] The snap election was trigged after the resignation of former mayor Taron Margaryan amid the aftermath of the 2018 Armenian Velvet Revolution. Well-known comedian and actor Hayk Marutyan, heading the electoral list of the My Step Alliance, was elected to the office of mayor of Yerevan.

2018 Yerevan City Council election
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All 65 seats to Yerevan City Council
33 seats needed for a majority
Turnout43.66%
  First party Second party Third party
  Айк Марутян (cropped).png Naira-Zohrabyan.jpg
BA
Leader Hayk Marutyan Naira Zohrabyan Artak Zeynalyan
Party My Step Alliance PAP Bright Alliance
Last election Part of Way Out Alliance holding 14 seats New Part of Way Out Alliance holding 14 seats
Seats won 57 5 3
Popular vote 294,092 25,218 18,114
Percentage 81.06% 6.95% 4.99%

Mayor of Yerevan before election

Kamo Areyan (acting)
Republican Party of Armenia

Mayor of Yerevan

Hayk Marutyan
My Step Alliance

CandidatesEdit

979 candidates competed for 65 open seats in the Yerevan city council (also known as the "council of elders").[2]

A total of 12 parties/alliances participated in the election (numbered below according to the electoral ballot listing):

A pre-election analysis of the top 10 lists from each party or alliance[10] revealed that:

  • Only Bright Alliance lists Yerevan city council members among its top 10 candidates. There are 7 of them, all are members of the current opposition Way Out Alliance.
  • Only Prosperous Armenia and the "Yerevantsiner Alliance" each list one acting member of parliament.
  • Only Bright Alliance lists an acting minister (Artak Zenalyan, Minister of Justice).

Electoral code and voter dataEdit

According to official data there were 848,343 eligible voters.[11][12]

Foreign citizens living in Yerevan could cast their ballots if they had at least a one-year registration before voting day.[13]

The electoral code defines one vote per voter and a threshold of 6 percent of cast ballots for parties (50,900 votes at 100% turnout) and 8 percent for alliances (67,867 at 100% turnout), surpassing which is required for consideration during mandate allocations. Only if less than 3 parties/alliances pass the threshold, would all three best performing parties/alliances be allocated mandates.[14][15] A “bonus” to the political force that wins at least 40 percent of the council seats will allow it to occupy majority of the seats and appoint the new mayor of Yerevan.[16]

Mandates will be allocated according to proportional representation principle, while regarding Yerevan as one multi-mandate electoral district.

Election observationEdit

Only one international organization, the International Expert Center for Electoral Systems (ICES) was registered for monitoring the election.[12]

While 662 observers from 8 local organizations and 598 representatives of 49 media outlets participated. Ten of the representatives were from 5 foreign media outlets.[17]

Electoral fraud prevention and counteractionEdit

Ahead of the September 23 election, in the second and final reading, the Armenian Parliament unanimously ratified a bill criminalizing electoral fraud. The amendments to Armenia’s Criminal Code make electoral fraud punishable by imprisonment whereas before, individuals charged with vote buying or selling were simply fined.[10]

Police established a telephone hot line which was used to report electoral fraud on election day. Anonymity of those who report corruption cases will be guaranteed.[18]

Election campaignEdit

The campaign was marked by bitter accusations by leading candidates.[19][20] Prime Minister of Armenia, Nikol Pashinyan, said the elections will be between "bright" and "dark" forces.[21]

After some candidates called for public debates and expressed their participation willingness, a debate was scheduled to be broadcast on public TV on the last campaign day, September 21 at 22:25 - just 95 minutes before "silence day" begins. The debate was recorded in advance, rather than broadcast live. For this reason, only one candidate, Naira Zohrabyan, representing Prosperous Armenia had declined participation and called for a live debate,[22] while ten candidates confirmed their participation.[23] If broadcast shall indeed end before midnight, assuming equal speaking time distribution to the candidates and taking into amount some time for moderation, it was expected that speaking time per candidate would amount to only about 7 (+-2) minutes.

Opinion pollsEdit

On September 11, Gallup International published an opinion poll survey.[24] According to the poll:[25]

  • 39.9% of the Yerevan residents will back My Step Alliance mayoral candidate Hayk Marutyan
  • 11.8% will vote for Prosperous Armenia candidate Naira Zohrabyan
  • 4.2% of the respondents said they will vote for Bright Alliance candidate Artak Zeynalyan
  • 2.5% will back Zaruhi Postanjyan’s candidacy from Yerkir Tsirani
  • 1.1% said they will vote for Orinats Yerkir (Rule of Law) candidate Mher Shahgeldyan
  • 1.1% for Raffi Hovhanissian from Heritage
  • 0.8% said they will vote for the Armenian Revolutionary Federation's candidate
  • 0.3% will vote for the Yerevan Society alliance
  • 0.2% will vote for the Yerevantsiner alliance

If these numbers held, only the top 3 parties/alliances (My Step, Prosperous Armenia, and Bright Alliance) would make it into city council, according to the rule of passing the electoral threshold and requiring a minimum of 3 parties/alliances to be represented in council.

ResultsEdit

The My Step Alliance won a landslide victory in the Yerevan City Council elections, according to preliminary data.[26]

 
Percentage of the vote of the My Step Alliance by districts of Yerevan.
Summary of the 23 September 2018 Yerevan City Council election results
Party Votes % Seats
My Step Alliance 294,092 81.06 57
PAP 25,218 6.95 5
Luys Alliance 18,114 4.99 3
ARF 5,882 1.62 0
Yerkir Tsirani 5,059 1.39 0
Rule of Law 3,947 1.09 0
Yerevantsiner Alliance 2,986 0.82 0
Heritage 2,709 0.75 0
Yerevan Society Alliance 2,502 0.69 0
Democratic Way Party 799 0.22 0
Reformist Party 792 0.22 0
Hayk (Haykazuns) Party 682 0.19 0
Invalid votes 7,539
Total 370,386 100.00 65
Electorate and turnout: 848,346 43.66
Source: Central Electoral Commission of Armenia Archived 2018-09-03 at the Wayback Machine

Well-known comedian and actor Hayk Marutyan, who heads the electoral list of the My Step Alliance, became the next mayor of Yerevan as the My Step Alliance garnered more than 50 percent of mandates, and according to law, the person who heads the electoral list of the winning political force is considered mayor-elect. Hayk Marutyan assumed office on 10 October 2018.[27] He is elected for a term of 4 years.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Yerevan to Elect New Municipal Council on September 23 hetq, 18 August 2018
  2. ^ "Yerevan Elections in Numbers". www.civilnet.am. Archived from the original on 2018-09-20. Retrieved 2018-09-20.
  3. ^ Naira Zohrabyan is Prosperous Armenia Party’s candidate for Yerevan Mayor Armenpress, 2 August 2018
  4. ^ Zaruhi Postanjyan: “I will run for mayor of Yerevan” Armenpress, 16 July 2018
  5. ^ (in Armenian) «Ժառանգություն» կուսակցությունը կմասնակցի Երեւանի ավագանու ընտրություններին Lragir.am, 10 August 2018
  6. ^ Civil Contract nominates Hayk Marutyan for Yerevan’s Mayor seat Aravot, 29 July 2018
  7. ^ LLC, Helix Consulting. "Government - Team Members - The Government of the Republic of Armenia". www.gov.am. Retrieved 2018-09-19.
  8. ^ Bright Armenia and Republic parties will participate in Yerevan elections without Civil Contract party NEWS.am, 17 August 2018
  9. ^ ARF to have no female candidate at upcoming Yerevan municipal council election NEWS.am, 18 August 2018
  10. ^ a b "Yerevan City Elections 2018: Everything You Need to Know". Retrieved 2018-09-19.
  11. ^ "Police publicize Yerevan city council election final electoral rolls". news.am. Retrieved 2018-09-20.
  12. ^ a b "Հայաստանի Հանրապետության կենտրոնական ընտրական հանձնաժողով". Elections.am (in Armenian). Archived from the original on 2018-09-03. Retrieved 2018-09-19.
  13. ^ "Non-Armenia citizens also can vote in Yerevan city council election". news.am. Retrieved 2018-09-20.
  14. ^ "DocumentView". www.arlis.am. Retrieved 2018-09-19.
  15. ^ "Electoral Code of Armenia (adopted in 2016)" (PDF).
  16. ^ "Armenia Police chief assures well-organized, transparent Yerevan city council election". news.am. Retrieved 2018-09-20.
  17. ^ "662 observers and 598 reporters to follow Yerevan City Council elections - aravot.am".
  18. ^ "Police Set-Up Hot Line for Yerevan Municipal Council Election - Hetq - News, Articles, Investigations". Retrieved 2018-09-20.
  19. ^ "Yerevan Election Sparks Bitter Row Between Pashinian, Tsarukian Parties". «Ազատ Եվրոպա/Ազատություն» ռադիոկայան (in Armenian). Retrieved 2018-09-20.
  20. ^ "Major Ally Rebukes, Warns Pashinian". «Ազատ Եվրոպա/Ազատություն» ռադիոկայան (in Armenian). Retrieved 2018-09-20.
  21. ^ "Pashinyan: Yerevan mayor elections are elections of". news.am. Retrieved 2018-09-20.
  22. ^ LLC, Helix Consulting. "Mayoral candidates to participate in Public TV's debate program - aysor.am - Hot news from Armenia". www.aysor.am. Retrieved 2018-09-20.
  23. ^ LLC, Helix Consulting. "Mayoral candidates to participate in Public TV's debate program - aysor.am - Hot news from Armenia". www.aysor.am. Retrieved 2018-09-20.
  24. ^ "Yerevan 12 Shades / Քաղաքապետի 12 երանգները". gallup.am. Retrieved 2018-09-19.
  25. ^ "39.9% of Yerevan residents to back mayoral candidate Hayk Marutyan – polls - aysor.am - Hot news from Armenia". www.aysor.am. Retrieved 2018-09-19.
  26. ^ "My Step bloc wins landslide victory in Yerevan City Council election". armenpress.am. Retrieved 2018-09-24.
  27. ^ "Yerevan election vote tallying concluded, Hayk Marutyan to assume office as mayor on October 13". news.am. Retrieved 2018-09-24.