New Stepanakert mayor elected

RIA Novosti, Russia
Aug 23 2004


YEREVAN, August 23 (RIA Novosti) – According to preliminary data,
Eduard Agabekyan, chairman of the permanent social commission of the
Nagorny Karabakh National Assembly, leader of the Movement-88
political organization, was elected mayor of Stepanakert, capital of
the unrecognized Nagorny Karabakh Republic.

Mr. Agabekyan collected 53.3% of votes in the second round of
elections yesterday, the press service of the Nagorny Karabakh
Foreign Ministry quoted the local Central Election Commission as

About 38.8% of voters supported former Vice Mayor of Stepanakert
Pavel Nadzharyan.

As compared to the first round, the voting activity grew by 10% and
totaled 51%, the election commission reported.

Azerbaijan’s Foreign Ministry resolutely condemned the elections in
Nagorny Karabakh. According to the ministry, the elections to the
local self-government bodies cannot be considered legal as they
contradict the Azeri and international laws.

However, the Nagorny Karabakh Foreign Ministry regards the appeal to
Azerbaijan’s legislation “absolutely groundless”.

Secretary General of the Council of Europe Walter Schwimmer also
criticized the elections. He claimed the inadmissibility of local
elections in Nagorny Karabakh and recollected the previous appeal of
the Council of Europe to abstain from unilateral elections.
“Unilateral actions are counter-productive,” Mr. Schwimmer said.

Stepanakert officials said that his statement is far from modern
realia. “Nagorny Karabakh is a sovereign state, which has nothing to
do with Azerbaijan, and lives an independent life in the territory,
which has always belonged to Armenians,” the Nagorny Karabakh Foreign
Ministry stressed.

The Nagorny Karabakh authorities believe that the municipal elections
fully meet international laws implying the right of free elections.