Monitors Give Mixed Marks to Armenia’s Election

Posted May 7th, 2012 at 10:45 am (UTC-5)
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International monitors have praised Sunday's elections in Armenia as competitive and peaceful, but criticized violations they say undermined the vote, including pressure on voters and an inadequate complaints process.

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe said Monday that Armenia deserves recognition for its electoral reforms and its open and peaceful campaign. But OSCE observers said the sound legal framework under which the vote was held was marred by irregularities where stakeholders failed to comply with the law and election commissions failed to enforce it.

Results released Monday show Armenian President Serzh Sarkisyan's ruling party won a majority of seats in Sunday's parliamentary elections.

Armenia's Central Election Commission said Mr. Sarkisyan's Republican Party took 44 percent of the vote, with former coalition partner, the Prosperous Armenia party, coming in second with 30 percent.

The opposition Armenian National Congress, led by former president Levon Ter-Petrosian, finished a distant third.

The parliamentary campaigns centered on unemployment, poverty and Armenia's long-running disputes with neighbors Turkey and Azerbaijan.

A disputed presidential poll in 2008 sparked deadly clashes between police and protesters.