Yesterday I had visited Surmalu in order to see the scale of that tragedy with my own eyes and to grasp what the root cause was. Tigran Avinyan, a member of the board of the ruling Civil Contract Party (CCP) and former Deputy Prime Minister of Armenia, said this Thursday on the air of state-funded Public TV—and with respect to his visit Wednesday to the site of the deadly explosion at the Surmalu shopping market in Yerevan on August 14.

"I communicated with the MES [(Ministry of Emergency Situations)] employees, I also laid flowers there, and I had a very substantive conversation with reporters about fire safety, fireworks, and other matters. It can be said that there was no political statement as such. A reporter asked three times: ‘Are you a candidate for mayor of Yerevan?’ I say, ‘Yes, it is so.’ But that day was not about that statement. I believe that day was an opportunity to discuss the incident, it was an opportunity to discuss fire safety rules, and it was an opportunity to discuss banning fireworks [in Armenia]," he said.

Avinyan noted that it was not a place for campaigning and, on the contrary, an anti-propaganda has actively started.

He added that if nothing changes, the next elections of the Yerevan Council of Elders will be held next year in the fall.

During his visit to the Surmalu market explosion site on Wednesday, Tigran Avinyan had announced that he was there as a Yerevan mayoral candidate of the CCP.