An investigation has found that PM Nikol Pashinyan’s Civil Contract Party has abused administrative resources to secure a victory for the ruling party in the upcoming municipal election. The Union of Informed Citizens (UIC) has found that the local government in the town of Spitak has been drawing up lists of people born in the region residing in Yerevan who promise to vote for Civil Contract Party candidate Tigran Avinyan in the mayoral election in September. Spitak officials have personally secured promises from voters, to whom they have explained “just how bad things will be for them” if the ruling party loses in the polls. The mayor and deputy mayor of Spitak and the Civil Contract Party deputy chairman are all involved in the effort, according to the investigation.
Taguhi Tovmasyan has asked a court in Yerevan to reinstate her post as chairwoman of the parliamentary committee on human rights, after she was ousted by the ruling party. Tovmasyan, who is a member of the opposition I Have Honor Alliance, was removed by the pro-government majority, who accused her of skipping most of the meetings of the parliament leadership. It also claimed that she failed to stop “hate speech” after another opposition politician called the 2018 Velvet Revolution that brought PM Pashinyan to power a “Turkish-Azerbaijani revolution” during a meeting she chaired. Tovmasyan said the ruling party is attempting to silence her by illegal means.
Prominent opposition economist Gubad Ibadoglu has been arrested on charges of possessing or making counterfeit money or securities, which he says are politically motivated. Ibadoglu, a visiting fellow at the London School of Economics, was arrested in Sumgait while visiting his mother in Azerbaijan, who is experiencing health issues. His wife Irada Bayramova says she and her husband were physically assaulted by police in civilian clothes while they were arrested together. Ibadoglu founded the Azerbaijani Youth Education Fund in June, which he said would be funded by collaborating with the U.K. and U.S. to confiscate money held in foreign banks that the government of Azerbaijan had “stolen from the people and economy of Azerbaijan and looted from the budget.”
Armenian Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan met with Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian during his visit to Tehran on July 24. Mirzoyan praised Iran as Armenia’s “special partner” amid ongoing negotiations with Azerbaijan. President Raisi reportedly warned against “political conspiracies” arising from U.S. and Israeli involvement in the Armenia-Azerbaijan negotiations. Raisi also opposed any “geopolitical” border change in the South Caucasus, in reference to Azerbaijan’s demand for an extraterritorial corridor connecting it to its exclave Nakhichevan through the Armenian province Syunik.