Electoral Commission to Announce Parliamentary Election Results Friday

YEREVAN (Reuters–Noyan Tapan)–Armenia’s Central Electoral Commission said Wednesday it would release final results from last Sunday’s parliamentary election on June 4–later than planned–because of complaints about the vote.

The commission has already released nearly complete figures for the party-list section of the ballot–from which 56 of 131 seats are being allocated.

A commission spokeswoman’said no results on the 75 seats being awarded through contests in single-mandate constituencies would be issued until Thursday because of numerous complaints about irregularities and problems with incomplete electoral rolls.

Final results had been due on Wednesday–but the election law allows a 48-hour extension to investigate complaints.

"We do not accept conclusions of the National Democratic Institute contained in its preliminary statement on the parliamentary elections in Armenia," the Noyan Tapan news agency quoted president Robert Kocharian as commenting on a preliminary statemen’s issued Tuesday by the National Democratic Institute–wherein it said that "once again Armenia failed to meet international standards and commitmen’s that it has accepted as the basis for organizing genuinely democratic elections."

In an interview with a journalist–presidential spokesman Vahe Gabrielian said that this accusation will be given a detailed public reaction.

According to Gabrielian–the president believes that the fact that many voters were not included into voter registers was caused by elimination of additional voter registers stipulated by the new election law and aimed at avoiding possible fraud. According to the president–the new order has led to new problems. Kocharian also stressed that some community leaders displayed negligence in drawing up voter registers–and assured to take measures to punish the culprits.

Gabrielian also reported that the president will meet with journalists in the coming days and answer their questions concerning the May 30 parliamentary elections.

A Western diplomat said cosmetic policy changes might be made by the new government but a turn away from reforms would be difficult given the impoverished country’s heavy reliance on International Monetary Fund and World Bank loans.

"They have few internal resources–and they are already squeezing as much as possible from domestic sources to keep the budget in order," the diplomat said. "Some say Demirchian is a socialist–but for socialism you need money. They don’t have it."

The Karabakh conflict is still the top issue facing Armenia.

Political analysts expect little movement because of a well-developed consensus between major Armenian political groups on Karabakh–ruling out Azerbaijan’s main deman’s on the region’s future status.

"The Armenian position is clear. The Azeri position is unacceptable," said the diplomat.

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