Nagorno-Karabakh to have second round of presidential elections
Nagorno-Karabakh will hold a second round of presidential elections on April 14, seeing that not one candidate received more than 50 per cent of the vote in order to take the presidency.
Nagorno Karabakh held both presidential and parliamentary elections on March 31.
The turnout in the elections was 73.5% – 76,728 people voted in total.
Preliminary data from the Central Election Commission (CEC) states that the top three candidates are:
- former PM Arayik Harutyunyan – 49.26%;
- Minister of Foregin Affairs Masis Mailyan – 26.4%;
- ex-secretary of the National Security Council Vitaly Balasanyan – 14,7%.
Srbuhi Arzumanyan, head of the CEC, says that although the votes are still being counted, the final numbers will not change the results in any way.
Of the 12 political parties that participated in the election, one block and four parties will now have members in parliament.
The majority of votes once again went to former Prime Minister Araik Harutyunyan’s coalition Free Homeland / United Civil Alliance – 40.4%.
The Democratic Party, United Homeland Party, Justice Party, and Armenian Revolutionary Faction “Dashnaktsutyun” will also be represented in parliament.
The elections were not without violations and complaints.
The CEC received 9 written complaints and 6 verbal complaints via hotline, 44 claims regarding violations were sent to the Nagorno-Karabakh prosecutor’s office, and 12 violation complaints were submitted to Ombudsman Artak Beglaryan.
The Observer Initiative, which operates within the framework of the public organization Transparency International, reported on its Facebook page that “the atmosphere surrounding the presidential and parliamentary elections in Nagorno-Karabakh was relatively tense”:
“Along with numerous small-scale violations, there were also recurring phenomena that suggest that they were intentional and organized. Obviously, some of the voters were being controlled and not voting according to their own free will, and this could affect the voting results.”
Reactions of the international community
The European Union has already spoken about past elections in Nagorno-Karabakh.
A statement posted on the EU’s official website says that “the European Union does not recognize the constitutional and legal framework in which the so-called presidential and parliamentary elections are held.”
“This event will have no effect on future determination of the status of Nagorno-Karabakh or the outcome of the ongoing negotiation process…The EU is ready to continue supporting efforts aimed at a swift and peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict,” the statement said.
The Georgian Ministry of Foreign affairs also released a statement.
“The Georgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs reaffirms its support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Azerbaijan and does not recognize the so-called parliamentary and presidential elections held in Nagorno-Karabakh on March 31.
Georgia only supports settling the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict through peaceful means, in accordance with the norms and principles of international law,” saidthe statement released on April 1.