May 23
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Armenia's ruling party, "Civil Contract," flexed its political muscle in the city councils of smaller communities, where, in a few cases, it continued its practice of impeaching opposition mayors using dubious tactics. Human rights organization Freedom House says in its annual report "Nations in Transit 2024".

“The electoral process generally received a positive evaluation from local and international observers. However, it was also marked by the abuse of administrative resources by the ruling party at a scale unprecedented since the Velvet Revolution,”  the report emphasizes.

“While one of the revolution’s most heralded gains has been the decoupling of politics from big businesses and oligarchs, 2023 showed concerning signs of a reversal on that front. In particular, two separate investigative reports shed light on the lack of transparency regarding Civil Contract’s sources of funding. Even more concerning, law enforcement agencies cleared Civil Contract of any wrongdoing, while Pashinyan apologized but said his party had not broken any laws,” notes Freedom House.

The organization assessed that the Yerevan Council of Elders elections were the main event of 2023 in domestic politics and can be seen as an interim test of confidence between the previous nationwide legislative vote in 2021 and the upcoming elections in 2026.

"Although the opposition in Yerevan is notoriously stronger than in most other regions, the Civic Compact still managed to garner more votes than any other party but fell far short of the threshold of seats needed to appoint a mayor. In fact, even in coalition with its minority partner, the Hantrapetutyun faction, the city is now governed by a minority council," Freedom House notes.

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