Robert Kocharian Declared Official Winner

YEREVAN (Armenpress–RFE/RL)–President Robert Kocharian on Tuesday was officially declared the winner of last week’s presidential election and is due to be sworn in for a second five-year term in office on April 9.

According to the final vote results announced by the Central Election Commission (CEC)–Kocharian won 67.44 percent of 1,548,570 votes cast during the March run-off. His opposition challenger–Stepan Demirchian–got 32.56 percent.

"The Central Election Commission declares that Robert Kocharian has been elected president of the Republic of Armenia," its chairman–Artak Sahradian–declared at a meeting held at CEC headquarters in Yerevan.

The official figures were endorsed by eight of the nine members of the CEC.

At a protest held in Yerevan on Tuesday–opposition leader Stepan Demirchian announced that he will file an appeal to Armenia’s Constitutional Court against the final results of the March 5 presidential run-off .

"I will appeal the results at the Constitutional Court," Demirchian added. "And I want to assure you once again that I will consistently fight for the triumph of justice."

Demirchian’s campaign claims that the official second-round voter turnout of more than 65 percent is grossly inflated and that according to its calculations–only 1.1million Armenia’s cast ballots on March 5. The CEC puts their number at more than 1.5 million.

Based on opposition claims of widespread violations at certain polling stations–votes at those locations are being recounted. Members of the election commission are opening sealed envelopes containing ballots and re-counting them–while OSCE observers monitor the process.

Interestingly– many Demirchian proxies have revealed that although they did not file complaints about voting and vote tabulations–complaints were nevertheless registered on their behalf.

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