YEREVAN (azatutyun.am) — Yerevan’s mayor, Hrachya Sargsyan, stepped down on Friday, March 17 after only 15 months in office. Sargsyan gave no clear reason for his resignation when he announced it at a meeting with other senior officials from the municipal administration.
“Now that the [next] elections of the city council are approaching and there is quite good cooperation between the mayor’s office and the government I want to announce my resignation,” he said, adding that he will remain part of Armenia’s ruling “political team.”
The elections of a new municipal council empowered to appoint the mayor are due to be held September. It was not immediately clear whether Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan’s Civil Contract party, which controls the current council, engineered Sargsyan’s resignation to bring forward the vote.
The ruling party announced a year ago that former Deputy Prime Minister Tigran Avinyan will be its mayoral candidate in 2023. Avinyan was appointed as one of the city’s five deputy mayors in September.
The Armenian press has been rife with speculation lately that Avinyan has low approval ratings and is overshadowed by Sargsyan despite leading most official ceremonies organized by the municipality.