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Ruling party removes former Yerevan mayor from city council

7 February 2024
Hayk Marutyan, Yerevan’s former mayor. Image via Yerevan City Council.

A coalition led by the ruling Civil Contract party has removed former Yerevan mayor Hayk Marutyan from the city’s council, in addition to two other opposition council members.

Marutyan and the two other council members were ousted from the council by the ruling party’s coalition on Wednesday, over accusations they had missed too many council sessions. The extraordinary session was boycotted by two out of three opposition factions sitting in the council.

They were ousted by a Civil Contract and their ally in the council, Hanrapetutyun. Despite being an opposition faction, Public Voice also voted in favour of the three council members’ removal.

The council removed Marutyan, a member of the National Progress party, and Narine Hayrapetyan and Sona Aghekyan from the Mother Armenia Alliance, with 34 council members voting in favour of their removal to none against.

The ruling coalition also sought to strip two other Mother Armenia council members — Zaruhi Postanjyan and Gevorg Stepanyan — of their posts but failed to garner enough votes.

Council members of the National Progress party announced that they would attend the session to ‘communicate with the public’, but not participate in the vote.

Andranik Tevanyan, Mother Armenia’s leader, announced that his faction would not be taking part in the session, and called on all parties to boycott the council.

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The coalition cited Yerevan’s self-government law in their removal, which stipulates that the council can vote out members of the council if they miss more than half of the council’s votes or meetings.

‘Purely political revenge’

In a speech he gave before he was ousted from the council, Hayk Marutyan stated that he had been boycotting the council’s sessions to prevent Civil Contract from making ‘harmful decisions’.

Coming to the sessions is barely 10% of the work of a member of the council. The lion’s share of the work is done outside this hall. […] It is a conscious decision, it is my political position, because only by not coming to the session and not securing a quorum is it possible to make sure that the Civil Contract does not make its infantile and harmful decisions’, said Marutyan of his boycott of the council’s sessions.

Marutyan served as Yerevan’s mayor following the 2018 revolution that catapulted Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and Civil Contract to power.

He was ousted in December 2021 for being disloyal to the ruling party. He ran against Civil Contract in Yerevan’s municipal elections last year but failed to secure a majority in the council.

[Read more: Ruling party secures Yerevan mayorship despite underperforming in elections]

In his speech, Marutyan accused the ruling party of targeting opposition politicians in the council for calling for the government’s resignation.

‘Now you are expelling us because we came out against you; we demand your resignation, that’s why you are expelling us,’ said Marutyan, calling his removal from council ‘purely political revenge’.

The former Yerevan mayor vowed to organise protests against Civil Contract’s and Hanrapetutyun’s proposal to increase public transport prices in Yerevan.

Following his removal from the council, Marutyan announced that he would run for prime minister in the 2026 parliamentary elections.