Armenian election was rigged, OSCE says

COMPILED FROM WIRE SERVICES
ISTANBUL
Published 03.04.2017 23:15

The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) criticized Armenia's weekend election, saying it had been tainted by instances of vote-buying and interference.

The OSCE said in a statement that the parliamentary election on Sunday had been well-administered and fundamental freedoms were generally respected. However, it added that were also riddled with organizational problems and undue interference in the process, mostly by party representatives. It also noted some pressure on civil servants, as well as private sector employees.

Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan's ruling Republican Party won Sunday's crucial general election, local media reported yesterday. Sargsyan has been in power since 2008 and his term as president ends next year. According to the unofficial results from Armenia's Central Elections Commission, the Republican Party of Armenia secured 49.21 percent of the vote.

The Tsarukyan bloc — led by businessman and former champion arm wrestler Gagik Tsarukyan — was the next largest group with 27.38 percent. The opposition Yelk bloc secured 7.72 percent. Voter turnout in the country with a population of just under 3 million people was around 61 percent. It was the first nationwide election after 2015's constitutional changes, which ushered in a parliamentary form of government in the former Soviet republic.

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