The local electoral campaign has started. The press reports shooting incidents, intimidation and other “usual” occurrences typical of electoral campaigns. After the parliamentary election the ruling criminal and oligarchic groups are striving to strengthen their foothold in their estates to establish absolute control there.
Although the main players are again the RPA and the PAP, clashes occur not only between the parties but also inside the parties. In Masis, for instance, the mayoral candidates were involved in a shooting incident.
The leader of these disturbances is Ararat region as usual where the lord is half-RPA, half-PAP Hovik Abrahamyan. This region is Hovik’s possession; his relatives hold more or less “profitable” and significant posts and businesses.
Hovik Abrahamyan wants to arrange the early mayoral election in Artashat to ensure his son’s election. Later his son will be the governor of Ararat marz. Hovik Abrahamyan wants to have his relatives in the villages and the candidates who are not his relatives undergo duress.
PAP leader Gagik Tsarukyan does not fall behind his in-law. However, unlike Hovik Abrahamyan (their kinship allows him to go beyond Kotayk region where almost everything belongs to him and “occupy” Ararat marz as well), his “entourage” is broader and “nationwide”. It is the PAP. It is not ruled out that the PAP will win majority in the local elections. At least, some major communities are already in PAP’s pocket.
A similar situation is in Armavir region with its feudal rule and tribalism. This region is reigned by the Grigoryan family. This family holds almost all the positions and opportunities. This family has “prosperes” so much that it has split to some parts, and in Armavir the “electoral” process is marked by conflicts among different parts of this family. General Manvel’s son is the mayor of Echmiadzin, his brother wants to be the mayor of Metsamor. He used to be the head of the electric network of Metsamor, and while he was director, mismanagement of 1 million dollars was revealed. Manvel’s brother is a member of parliament.
These three marzes – Ararat, Kotayk and Armavir – are classic examples of tribalism. The other marzes are no better but cannot keep up with them. Perhaps only Shirak where Vardan Ghukasyan’s tribe has been ruling for years but recently he has been “dethroned”.