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International observers rate Armenia election as free and fair

International observers rate Armenia election as free and fair

dpa
Yerevan
International observers said the snap parliamentary elections held at the weekend in the South Caucasus republic of Armenia were in accordance with democratic standards.
The election campaign that delivered a win on Sunday to embattled Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan was fair and free, they said.
In a polarized environment, the fundamental rights of voters were respected, Kari Henriksen, a Norwegian observer from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), said in the Armenian capital Yerevan on Monday.
The OSCE observers stressed that the authorities had professionally managed Sunday’s vote in accordance with international law.
Greek observer George Katrougalos called on the opposition to recognize the results and prepare for the next election.
Critically, the experts noted that women were excluded from politics in Armenia and that there had been legal changes shortly before the election.
In addition, access for people with disabilities was difficult in some polling stations. Overall, the election campaign was marked by aggressiveness and confrontation.
Pashinyan’s party came out on top in Sunday’s vote, reaffirming his hold on power after he rejected calls to resign following a bruising conflict with Azerbaijan.
Pashinyan’s Civil Contract party won 53.92 per cent of the vote with all the ballots counted, the Central Election Commission announced on Monday.
His main challenger, former president Robert Kocharian and his Armenia Alliance party, received just over 21.04 per cent.
He had complained of electoral violations and declared that he would not recognize the results. The OSCE observers said it was up to the Armenian authorities to investigate reported violations.
Russia now hopes for an end to the political crisis in Armenia. “We want this election to help overcome the difficulties the country is currently experiencing,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said in Moscow on Monday, according to the Interfax agency.
Russia is an ally of Armenia. From Russia’s point of view, Pashinyan’s victory is seen as a guarantee that the ceasefire agreement on the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region, concluded with Azerbaijan under Russian mediation, will hold.
The agreement to halt fighting in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict came into force on November 9 after a 44-day war. It also stipulates the deployment of 2,000 Russian soldiers as peacekeepers.

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