After the Republican Party refused to nominate a candidate for mayor of Gyumri but also supported Samvel Balasanyan nominated by the PAP, experts said Serzh Sargsyan wants to let the local elections go to the PAP. It is not a compensation for the parliamentary election but the price for supporting Serzh Sargsyan in the presidential election.
In brief, if the PAP wins the local elections, it will control a considerable percent of votes. And if Serzh Sargsyan encourages the PAP, it may mean possible change of the political conjuncture.
Why does the PAP need the votes? They will be useful if PAP does not support Serzh Sargsyan in the presidential election. It is not ruled out that the PAP will nominate Robert Kocharyan. Will Serzh Sargsyan retreat if Robert Kocharyan runs in the election? And on the contrary, will Kocharyan refrain if Serzh Sargsyan “proves” his victory?
Nevertheless, the “municipal” elections of Serzh Sargsyan and PAP show that in the next presidential election there may not be a direct clash between Sargsyan and Kocharyan. They will calculate, weigh the opportunities for victory, the strength of external sponsors. And if one of them doubts their success, he will give up.
From this point of view the transfer of part of municipalities to the PAP is a winning step for Serzh Sargsyan. If the PAP does not nominate a candidate, it will certainly support Sargsyan with its “municipal” potential. And if Sargsyan himself gives up the scramble, he can explain it as a gesture of good will.
It is notable that the opposition is not running in the local elections. The leader of the Christian Democratic Party Khosrov Harutyunyan says the local elections will act as litmus paper for the identification of positions in the political field.
He explained the decision of not nominating candidates for the mayoral elections in Gyumri. The RPA lost the parliamentary election in Gyumri so it was reasonable not to run in the mayoral election, he says. However, he thinks the Republican presidential candidate will succeed in Gyumri because people are guided by different principles in the presidential elections, he said.
So far the local elections have been an event involving clans, part of the process of dividing the country among themselves. The upcoming election will have a political component. It is also relative. The RPA-PAP antagonism is not perceived as political or ideological. It is perceived as a race between Kocharyan and Serzh Sargsyan. Therefore, if they agree, political scramble in Armenia will die for a long time.