72 Year-Old Wins Village Council Race: Wants to Stop Exodus

15:08, 10 March, 2014

Seven candidates vied for five spots in yesterday’s election for village council in Nizam.

72 year-old Irma Haroutyunyan, the only female candidate, beat her rival by 61 votes and thus was assured a seat on the council in the community she relocated to as a refugee from Baku in the late 1980s.

She’s been a resident of Nazim ever since.

As voting was going on inside, Ms. Haroutyunyan nervously paced up and down outside the polling station.

She greeted voters as they arrived and praised them for carrying out their civic duty.

“”Our village hasn’t really moved forward in these past years. In fact, it’s gone backwards,” she told me as by way explaining her motivation to run for public office.

“Let me start with the basics. The streets are dirty, muddy and unlit. We don’t have a cultural center or a health clinic. There’s nothing to do here,” said the newly elected council member, and pointed to the youngsters gathered around.

“I want their future to be a bright one. I don’t want them to leave for Russia and elsewhere.”

In fact, Ms. Haroutyunyan’s own children have left Armenia in search of a better life, but the council member says she’s staying put.

Full of energy and optimism, Ms. Haroutyunyan says she will do her best to improve things in her little corner of Armenia so that her children eventually return.