Armenian Parliamentarians Comment On Karabakh Elections

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–Member of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation parliamentary faction Armen Rustamian–and member of the "Unity" faction Grigor Harutiunian–were among the seven members of the Armenian National Assembly invited to Nagorno Karabakh as local observers–called the parliamentary elections held in the Nagorno Karabakh Republic on June 18 fair and transparent. At their June 21 news conference they pointed out that there were some problems with the voters’ lists in Stepanakert–but it did not considerably influenced the results of the elections.

The population was quite active. Sixty percent of the voters participated in the voting process throughout the country–Stepanakert being an exception (33 percent)–which–according to Rustamian and Harutiunian–is due to the fact that Samvel Babayan’s supporters did not participate in the elections. The Armenian parliamentarians had no information on whether Samvel Babayan or members of his family participated in the voting–but they said that five of those accused of the attempted murder of Nagorno Karabakh Republic President Arkady Ghukassian kept in the Shushi prison participated in the voting.

Rustamian refuted the supposition that as a result of actual isolation of the Karabakh opposition (represented by Samvel Babayan’s supporters) it was mainly the pro-presidential candidates that won the elections. He stressed that only 13 of the 33 newly elected members of the Nagorno Karabakh Republic Parliament represented the pro-presidential "Democratic Artsakh" Union; nine candidates are the ARF representatives who–according to Rustamian–cannot be considered pro-presidential–and the others are independent candidates. Rustamian holds the opinion that no political force can be said to have won the elections–as–according to the Nagorno Karabakh Republic legislation–the parliamentary elections were held by the majority system.

In his turn–Harutiunian stated that the issues of the elections in the Nagorno Karabakh Republic should not be "politicized"–stressing that important is not what political forces form the parliamentary majority in the Nagorno Karabakh Republic. "The most important thing is that they are pro-Armenian," he said.

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