Levon Ter-Petrosyan, leader of the Armenian opposition bloc Armenian National Congress, walks to cast his ballot during a parliamentary election in the Armenian capital of Yerevan, May 6 2012.
Armenian president Serge Sarkisian’s ruling Republican Party has won parliamentary elections with about 44 per cent of the vote, local and international media said, quoting a poll by Gallup International Association.
Tycoon and former arm wrestler Gagik Tsarukian’s Prosperous Armenian Party, erstwhile partners of the Republican Party in government, was said to have run second with about 29 per cent.
According to the poll, out of six main parties in Armenia, only former president Levon Ter-Petrosyan’s Armenian National Congress (ANC) had failed to cross the seven per cent threshold for entry to the country’s 131-seat parliament.
Voter turnout was reported by Armenia’s central election commission to exceed 62 per cent at 8pm local time.
Armenia’s previous election in 2008 was marred by violence and allegations of irregularities, but the 2012 vote appeared to have passed largely peacefully. Observers from the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) were scheduled to give their opinion of the conduct of the 2012 parliamentary election voting process on May 7.
The international observers monitoring the parliamentary elections in Armenia will present their preliminary post-election statement at a news conference in Yerevan on May 7, according to a statement on the OSCE website.
Local media said that three main opposition parties, Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK), the ANC and the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun) had alleged "large-scale machinations" by the Republican Party to win the vote, including an alleged "disappearing ink" phenomenon on voters’ identification documents. The ink stamped on documents to prevent double voting reportedly disappeared within a few minutes.
The BBC reported that, in an interim report on the election, the OSCE mission said the candidates had been able to campaign freely, but noted that there had been cases of illegal campaigning in schools on behalf of the governing Republican Party.