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Mayor Of Yerevan Removed Amid Conflict With Armenia's Ruling Party

Hayk Marutian (file photo)
Hayk Marutian (file photo)

YEREVAN -- The city council of Armenia’s capital has voted to remove Mayor Hayk Marutian and replace him with one of his deputies, Hrachya Sargisian.

By a vote of 44-10, the council on December 22 passed a no-confidence resolution against Marutian, who was accused of not running the city “with sufficient efficiency.”

Shortly before the vote, Marutian accused the ruling Civil Contract party of Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian of betraying the goals of the 2018 uprising that brought them to power. He accused Pashinian and his political team of stifling dissent and enriching themselves.

Marutian, who was a leading figure in the 2018 mass protests that toppled former Armenian leader Serzh Sarkisian, quit Civil Contract in December 2020.

“I thought that a revolutionary’s supreme goal must be to improve the lives of other people,” Marutian told council members. “In reality, as soon as they came to power, they started improving their own lives, despite the fact that the country’s poverty rate continued to hover at around 30 percent.”

Marutian particularly criticized a decision to increase salaries for ministers and other senior government officials and claimed that as mayor he had received frequent phone calls from unnamed officials seeking favors.

“I did not expect such phone calls when I joined the team,” he said, citing them as a key reason for his conflict with Pashinian.

Pro-Pashinian members of the council, in turn, criticized Marutian for supposedly failing to support the government against opposition protests in the wake of Armenia’s defeat in an armed conflict with neighboring Azerbaijan last year.

“Where was the Yerevan mayor during the counterrevolution?” council member Armen Galjian said. “Was he locked down in his office with a mask on his face or busy preparing to leave the party?”

Pashinian has not publicly commented on the rift with Marutian.

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