As it is known, Mayor of Yerevan Taron Margaryan filed a resignation request on July 9, 2018. On July 12, the Yerevan City Council approved the resignation and appointed the mayor’s early election on July 16. But so far the Yerevan City Council has not elected the mayor, and, apparently, it will not happen.
Since there is an uncertainty and contradiction in legal regulations with regard to subsequent actions, the Union of Informed Citizens has made an attempt to present the further course of actions and the timeframes to the public.
Reduction of term of office of the City Council
Part 2 of Article 17 of the RA Law on Local Self-Government in Yerevan City stipulates that “2. The Government shall reduce the term of office of the City Council if no candidate for the mayor is nominated or the nominated candidate does not collect the necessary number of votes within a two-week period after the session is convened in accordance with Article 44 of this Law.” , or the nominated candidate does not collect the required number of votes. ”
In fact, with this legal regulation, the legislative authority meant the failure of the Yerevan mayoral election attempt(s) during two weeks as a basis for reducing the term of office of the City Council.
Nevertheless, the legislative authority has not defined the timeframe within which the government shall carry out the function stipulated by Article 17 (2) with this or any other norm (including other legal act).
Part 3 of Article 17 of the same Law stipulates that “3. The Government shall appoint early elections of the City Council in parallel with the decision on reducing the term of office of the City Council.”
Meanwhile, Article 128 of the Electoral Code (which is a Constitutional Law) stipulates that “1. Early elections in Yerevan, Gyumri and Vanadzor shall be appointed by the Government within two weeks after the dissolution of Yerevan, Gyumri and Vanadzor Councils.”
While Article 17 of the RA Law on Local Self-Government in Yerevan uses the term “reduction of term of office“, and the Electoral Code uses the word “dissolution“, it is evident that the formulations refer to the same action which is described by different terms.
Consequently, these legal regulations clearly contradict each other. However, according to Article 5 of the RA Constitution, the Constitutional Law has a higher legal force than the law. Consequently, the norm stipulated by the Constitutional Law shall be applied, which stipulates that the early elections of the City Council shall be appointed by the government within two weeks after the Yerevan City Council is dissolved.
Part 2 of Article 128 of the Electoral Code states that “2. Early elections shall be held no sooner than 30 days and no later than 40 days after the decision on holding early city council elections enters into force, on the later Sunday.”
Meanwhile, according to Part 6 of Article 17 of the RA Law on “Local Self-Government in Yerevan City, “6. The early election of the City Council shall be held not earlier than 30 days and not later than 40 days after reducing the term of office of the City Council … ”
And although these two legal regulations contradict each other, the regulation of the Election Code shall prevail not only because of its higher legal power, but also because it is stipulated in Article 181 (2) of the Constitution, namely, “2. The procedure for the elections of local self-government bodies shall be defined by the Electoral Code.”
Thus, the government shall hold early elections no sooner than 30 days and no later than 40 days after the decision on holding early city council elections enters into force, on the later Sunday.
Moreover, according to Article 23 of the RA Law on Normative Legal Acts, the Government may define any day for entry into force of the decision on the appointment of the Yerevan City Council early elections, which will be after the official announcement. In this case, the period from 30 to 40 days will be calculated starting from that date.
The Yerevan City Council appointed mayor’s election on July 16, 2018. Hence, if the city council does not elect a mayor by July 30, the government shall dissolve the council. However, the government has no defined timeframe within which it shall be done.
In any event, whenever the government dissolves the council, early election shall be appointed within two weeks. The date of that election shall be selected in such a way that it is held within 30 to 40 days (on the later Sunday) after the decision on the appointment shall take effect. However, in the transitional provisions, the Government may postpone the start of calculation of that date by defining the date of entry into force of the decision.
Thus, the Yerevan City Council elections may take place not earlier than September 9, 2018, but de jure there is no deadline for holding them.
Union of Informed Citizens