Mixed Reactions To Nagorno-Karabakh Poll


United Press International UPI
May 25 2010

ArticlePhotosListenComments.Share YEREVAN, Armenia, May 25 (UPI)
— Official government reactions to the parliamentary contest in
the breakaway republic of Nagorno-Karabakh were mixed, election
groups said.

The Azeri central election commission characterized the weekend
parliamentary contest as a “farce,” the Armenia bureau of Radio Free
Liberty/Radio Europe reports.

More than half of the nearly 100,000 eligible voters in the region
took part in the poll, the Azeri election commission said. Four
parties were competing for seats in the 33-member Parliament.

Azerbaijan and Armenia have complained of violations to a 1994
cease-fire related to conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh, an area of
dispute between Azerbaijan and Armenia.

Nagorno-Karabakh, which declared independence in 1991, lies inside
Azerbaijan but has a population that is predominantly ethnic Armenian.

Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian told the state-run news
service that the vote meant that “the citizens of the Nagorno-Karabakh
republic once again have proved their resolve to express their will
to live freely and independently.”

Elections officials in the region said the Free Fatherland slate of
self-appointed Prime Minister Ara Harutiunian was leading with about
47 percent of the vote.

Moscow, for its part, said it didn’t believe the peace process “could
depend on the holding of elections,” said the RFE/RL report.

The United States, Russia and France have been trying to mediate the
territorial dispute between Azerbaijan and Armenia that has resulted
in the deaths of some 30,000 people.

Catherine Ashton, high representative of the European Union for
foreign affairs and security policy, last week characterized the
elections as illegal.

From: A. Papazian

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