December 12
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Yerevan Deputy Mayor Tigran Avinyan uses administrative resources. Varuzhan Hoktanyan, Project Director at Transparency International Anti-Corruption Center, expressed such a view in an interview with Pastinfo, and referring to the activities of Armenia’s former Deputy Prime Minister Tigran Avinyan, who was recently appointed the Deputy Mayor of Yerevan.

The source writes that the next elections of the Yerevan Council of Elders will take place in the fall of 2023, but Avinyan is already conducting tours in various communities of the Armenian capital, during which he meets with residents, visits kindergartens, makes promises and, in fact, using the position of deputy mayor, is already campaigning from today.

It was he who had announced that he was the ruling Civil Contract Party candidate for the Mayor of Yerevan, sometime thereafter he was appointed the Deputy Mayor, and now the Yerevan Municipality covers his activities much more actively than the current Mayor of Yerevan.

"In this case, I call it the use of an administrative resource. The use of administrative resources is accepted in all countries of the world, and it is the unwritten advantage of the ruling political power—including in the most democratic countries. It's a good thing or a bad thing, we can find out if other forces hadn’t done it or didn't do it," Hoktanyan said, adding that it is necessary to consider which aspect of that activism in particular can affect the aforesaid elections.

According to him, abuse of administrative resources in Armenia is understood in a narrow sense, when it is carried out during election campaigning. Formally, according to the Electoral Code, we are dealing with the abuse of administrative resources when the Central Electoral Commission (CEC) announces the elections, the relevant timetable is presented. But in this case, purely from the point of view of the legislation, we are not dealing with the abuse of administrative resources. According to Hoktanyan, in this case, we are dealing with the use of administrative resources, which is not a new phenomenon.

Varuzhan Hoktanyan considers the ruling power's appointment of Vahagn Hovakimyan, a former ruling force MP and a former journalist of PM Nikol Pashinyan's family newspaper, as the new CEC chairman, as an abuse of legislative resources, Transparency International Anti-Corruption Center also had joined the NGO's statement in this regard.

"The abuse of administrative resource has several types: abuse of power resource, abuse of electoral legislative resource, procedural abuse of how legislative and sub-legislative decisions are implemented. From the point of view of abuse of administrative resources, the appointment of Vahagn Hovakimyan as the CEC chairman has much more serious consequences, whereas what Avinyan is doing now, I would define as the use of administrative resources, which is an accepted practice. It would be an abuse if he mobilized his supporters from today through the directors of schools, polyclinics and other ways in Yerevan; moreover, through pressure," explained Hoktanyan, adding that if there are such facts, we can only talk about abuse of administrative resources by Avinyan.

"Now he is the deputy mayor and, as the deputy mayor, he has the right to go and meet with the residents. It is, of course, not very welcome from an ethical point of view, but it is an accepted way in the world. But the appointment of Vahagn Hovakimyan is an abuse of administrative resource because a person who was a party member until the last minute became the CEC chairman. The bad thing is that all the bad traditions that existed in the past continue now. And nothing has changed because what happened in April, May 2018, it was supposed that these practices should be completely eliminated; but they are not eliminated," Varuzhan Hoktanyan concluded.

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