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Armenian Elections Improve

Armenian Elections Improve

According to preliminary results, pro-government parties in Armenia won the largest share of the vote in the country's parliamentary elections.

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe said that, despite some problems, the vote was a clear improvement over previous elections. None of Armenia's elections have met international standards since the country gained its independence with the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

U.S. State Department deputy spokesman Tom Casey commented on the vote:

"We do congratulate the Armenian people on their parliamentary elections and share with the international observers who were present the view that the election infrastructure has been greatly improved and that this is a step in the right direction towards meeting international standards. We do hope, however, that the government of Armenia will aggressively investigate allegations that are there of electoral wrongdoing and prosecute the people in accordance with Armenian law."

Preliminary results suggest that three pro-government parties and two from the opposition met the five percent threshold of votes required to enter the Armenian parliament. The Republican party of Prime Minister Serzh Sarkisian won approximately thirty-three percent of the vote. The pro-government party of Gagik Tsarukian, Prosperous Armenia, received around fifteen percent. And the Armenian Revolutionary Federation garnered about thirteen percent of the vote.

Opposition parties trailed behind. The Rule of Law party obtained nearly seven percent, followed by the Heritage party of former foreign minister Raffi Hovannisian with almost six percent.

More than two-million Armenians voted in the parliamentary elections, which were in closer accordance with international standards than previous elections held in the country since 1991. This improvement is a good basis on which to progress toward holding a free and fair presidential election next year. In the meantime, however, this parliamentary poll is still not a closed chapter. Part of the election process is the careful consideration of, and response to, issues raised in connection with the vote.