Azerbaijan, Baku, June 4 / Trend , E.Tariverdiyeva/
The vast majority of Armenian voters played a secondary role of audience rather than main actors in the political life of the country, director of the Armenian Center for National and International Studies Richard Giragosian says.
"The local elections held in Armenia on May 31, not just an excuse for the capital controls, but the most important event to assess the state of democracy in Armenia", Giragosian said to Trend by email.
The ruling Republic party of Armenia (RPA) succeeded the elections to Yerevan Elders' Council on May 31, Mediamax reported.
Armenia's opposition under the leadership of former President Levon Ter-Petrosian intends to seek the resignation of the incumbent President Serzh Sargsyan.
Ter-Petrosian said that falsification of elections of mayor of Yerevan Serzh Sargsyan has created an opportunity to further plunder the country, which even more weakened Armenia and gave birth to international community to obtain from the country even more concessions in key areas in return for a fraudulent election, Rosbalt news agency said.
But the municipal election, which will result in the election of the mayor of the capital Yerevan on May 31, represented a significant milestone, as the first open political contest between the authorities and the opposition since the onset of the 2008 crisis.
As with most elections in Armenia, the powerful advantage inherent in the "administrative resources" of incumbency poses a formidable challenge to any opposing candidate or party. The use of such administrative resources, such as pressuring civil servants, teachers and government officials to support the authorities' preferred candidate, has evolved into a more sophisticated and even innovative strategy.
"Authorities use the traffic police to prevent travel to Yerevan during elections or rallies by opposition. At the same time, the authorities, and the Republican Party in particular, have also become quite adept at organizing their own free public transportation for their voters, reflecting the excessive and inappropriate use of state resources for their own "get out the vote" effort during elections," he said.
Since the onset of a serious post-election crisis that culminated in a violent confrontation between the Armenian authorities and the opposition on 1 March 2008, Armenia remains plagued by lingering political tension exacerbated by profound political polarization and mounting economic disparities, Giragosian said
Armenian opposition led by Ter-Petrosian, who ran in the presidential elections on Feb. 19 and lost, held demonstrations, expressing dissatisfaction with the outcome of the vote in the center of Yerevan of Feb.20, 2008.
The protests culminated in riots and protesters clash with security forces, which killed ten people and over 200 were injured on March 1-2, 2008.
Over the past several months, however, there has been a steady erosion of political activism and civic engagement that first emerged during the initial stage of the post-election crisis of early 2008. That initial period was marked by a sudden and fairly unexpected "re-awakening" of the population, seemingly no longer content with its previous apathy and disengagement from politics, Giragosian said
The Armenian authorities are also hindered by a lack of legitimacy and a "crisis of confidence" that undermines its political mandate and impedes its reform program, Giragosian said
"While the Armenian government does not remain fairly unpopular and unable to fully overcome these challenges, the authorities nor the opposition has been able to resolve the political crisis or to reach any constructive compromise", Giragosian said.