YEREVAN (RFE/RL) — Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan’s bloc scored a landslide victory in municipal elections in Yerevan on September 23, in the first major test of the new leader’s political strength, according to final preliminary results.
The Central Election Commission (CEC) said on September 24 that Pashinyan’s My Step bloc received 81 percent of the votes, far more than enough to have its top candidate, popular actor and producer Hayk Marutyan, installed as mayor of Yerevan.
Businessman Gagik Tsarukyan’s Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK) came in a distant second with 7 percent, followed by the Luys alliance, which got 5 percent, the CEC said. Both groups have ministerial posts in Pashinyan’s cabinet.
The nine other contenders in the vote, including the parliamentary Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF), fared much worse.
Under Armenian law, alliances need to win at least 8 percent of the vote to be represented in the city council. But the law also stipulates that at least three political groups must be represented in the council, meaning that Luys will also hold seats.
The CEC put voter turnout at about 43.7 percent, up from the almost 41 percent that was recorded in the previous municipal elections in May 2017, controversially won by the former ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK). The party, which lost power in May, chose not to contest the latest mayoral race.