Concern over 'violations' in Armenian vote

2013-02-21 11:02
Armenian President Serge Sarkisian is greeted by his supporters during a meeting while campaigning for the vote in Yerevan, Armenia. (File, PanArmenian/ AP)

Armenian President Serge Sarkisian is greeted by his supporters during a meeting while campaigning for the vote in Yerevan, Armenia. (File, PanArmenian/ AP)

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Washington - The United States voiced concern on Wednesday over "serious violations" in Armenia's electoral process after President Serzh Sarkisian was re-elected.

Thousands of opposition supporters rallied in the Armenian capital earlier against Sarkisian's victory in elections seen as a crucial democratic test for the former Soviet state.

"We agree with the findings that while election day was calm and orderly, it was marked by undue interference in the process, mainly by proxies representing the incumbent, and some serious violations, including cases of pressure on voters," Nuland said.

Observers from the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly said the election was an improvement on past polls but lacked real competition after two leading candidates pulled out late last year.

The United States shares those concerns over "a lack of impartiality on the part of the public administration and the misuse of administrative resources that resulted in a blurred distinction between the activities of the state and those of the ruling party", Nuland said.

Sarkisian won Monday's elections with 58.64% of the votes against his top challenger Raffi Hovannisian's 36.75%, according to the central election commission.

"We urge law enforcement officials to investigate and to take appropriate action in response to credible reporting of election violations, and we call on all parties to remain calm in this post-election period and to exercise restraint in their actions," Nuland said.

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