In the city of Sevan, the city police department has begun to interfere in the community head election process, expected to be tense from the very start.
According to reliable sources of A1+, yesterday several supporters of the nonpartisan candidate, businessman Ara Smbatyan were invited to the Sevan police department for "a talk".
The policemen together with the department head Vigen Aghekyan tried to find out whom the men were going to support in the elections. The policemen also "friendly" advised them to abandon their "harmful" pursuit.
Garegin Hasasyan, member of the Rapid Response Group of the Human Rights Ombudsman, was invited to one of the mentioned conversations.
During a talk with A1+, Mr. Hasasyan partly confirmed our information.
In the words of Ombudsman's representative, after receiving an alarm call, he visited on August 29 the Sevan police where a 30-year-old man was kept for 2-3 hours.
"In my presence, the man was asked if he was a supporter of one of the candidates running in the election, the man replied "Yes", thus giving to understand that he was brought to police for that reason. But we didn't clarify other details as it was not within our competence. We only found that no violence was committed against the citizen," Ombudsman's representative said.
Head of the Sevan police department Vigen Afgekyan refused to give explanations regarding our problem.
It should be mentioned that 10 candidates were put up to run in the elections for Sevan Mayor on September 23, including several "not rank-and-file" members of Republican Party of Armenia (HHK).
Among them are the chairman of Sevan Political Board until 1995, first governor of Gegharkunik marz (province) Rudik Ghukasyan, former Mayor of Sevan Ashot Aleksanyan, and deputy of the National Assembly of second and third convocations Aleksan Poghosyan.
The incumbent Mayor, HHK member Gevorg Malkhasyan recently abandoned his electoral struggle, saying that intends to conduct his own business.
According to information in the press, the real reason why Malkhasyan withdrew his candidacy is that those in the presidential administration refused to endorse him.
By the way, it is also known that non-party man Ara Smbatyan, who is considered the main contender for the post of Mayor, supported a HHK member during the parliamentary elections held in May 2012, as well as HHK-sponsored candidate Edward Sahakyan running in a single-mandate district., while the above-mentioned candidates of HHK now running in local government elections endorsed candidate Karen Batoyan of Country of Law Party (OEK).