ArmInfo. Bishop Sahak Mashalyan and Chairman of the Religious Assembly Archbishop Aram Ateshyan will compete for the place of head of the diocese of Constantinople of the Armenian Apostolic Church (AAC).
According to the data, the so-called "Orange Front" received 9008 votes, providing 89 delegates for Mashalyan. The "Purple Front", led by another candidate, Archbishop Aram Ateshyan, received 3,529 votes and 12 delegates. One delegate preferred to remain independent. 753 ballots were declared invalid, 376 people voted with blank ballots.
Since morning of December 8, the Armenians of Turkey voted at the place of registration for delegates representing the two candidates. In total, 13,704 members of the Armenian community took part in the vote, which is about 30% of voters with the right to vote. Many did not come to the polls, considering the elections unfair, since the election qualification established by the Turkish state limited the possibility of nominating a number of clergymen as candidates. Thus, on December 8, the Armenian community elected 102 delegates, who will elect a patriarch on December 11.
According to the results of the vote count, Mashalyan and Ateshyan went to the second round, and on December 11 they will compete for the coveted seat of the head of the diocese of Constantinople.
It should be noted that since 1998, Mesrop Mutafyan held the position of the First Hierarch of the AAC in Constantinople. However, after the operations and several assassination attempts carried out by members of the Ergenekon terrorist organization, the 53-year-old Patriarch's condition worsened, and then the doctors diagnosed him with incurable amnesia, and later fell into a coma. From 2004 to March 8, 2019 (on this day Mutafyan passed away), the Turkish leadership did not give permission to the Armenian community (the head of the national community according to Turkish laws should at the same time be the spiritual head) to announce the election of a new Patriarch or even his co-ruler. All this time, the locum tenens of the Constantinople diocese was Aram Ateshyan, and the community had mixed attitude to him. The community has repeatedly appealed to the Catholicos of All Armenians Karekin II with a request to remove Ateshyan because he is not engaged in his direct duties, does not protect the interests of the community and is engaged in self-enrichment.