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Armenia's ruling party wins Yerevan mayor race amid tensions

06 мая 2013, 17:18
Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian. Photo courtesy of azadliq.org
Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian. Photo courtesy of azadliq.org
Armenia's ruling party has comfortably won a mayoral election in the capital Yerevan, preliminary results showed Monday, but the opposition claimed the vote was marred by irregularities, echoing complaints from this year's presidential polls, AFP reports.

President Serzh Sarkisian's Republican party picked up 55.86 percent of the vote in Sunday's polls, far outstripping its nearest rival Prosperous Armenia on just over 23 percent, Armenia's electoral commission said.

Opposition parties lashed out at the results, with some alleging violations -- including voter-bribery and the use of disappearing ink to allow multiple voting -- and called for protests.

The claims echoed accusations levelled against presidential polls in February that saw the opposition refuse to accept Sarkisian's crushing victory to win reelection.

"These elections were another crime committed by the current regime against democracy and the people of Armenia," said a statement from the Armenian National Congress opposition bloc led by former president Levon Ter-Petrosian.

Armenia's weakened opposition had hoped to use Sunday's vote to claw back momentum from Sarkisian after a spate of street protests against his February victory fizzled out.

Sarkisian, a shrewd former military officer in power since 2008, won the presidential poll in the small country nestled in the Caucasus mountains between Turkey and Iran with more than 58 percent of the vote.

That election was seen as an improvement on past polls, even though it lacked genuine competition, after the vote that brought Sarkisian to power in 2008 ended in clashes between police and supporters of the defeated opposition candidate that left 10 people dead.

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