Karabakh Voters Flock to Polls for Parliamentary Elections


STEPANAKERT (Combined Sources)—More than 70 percent of eligible voters in the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic flocked to the polls Sunday to elect a new parliament—the fifth legislature since the declaration of independence.

More than 50 international observers and 30 international media had turned to the Karabakh authorities for monitoring or covering the elections in which four political parties with a total of 82 candidates on their slates were vying for 17 seats in parliament. The other seats in the 33-seat body were contested by 44 candidates in single-mandate constituencies. The legislature in Karabakh is elected for a five-year term.

The preliminary results published by the Karabakh Central Election Commission (CEC) on Monday showed Karabakh Prime Minister Ara Harutiunian’s Free Fatherland party as leading the vote with some 46 percent. Parliament speaker Ashot Ghulian’s Democratic Party of Artsakh and the Armenian Revolutionary Federation have garnered about 29 and 20 percent of the vote, respectively. The Communist Party failed to clear the six-percent hurdle, which is required under Karabakh’s election laws to enter the legislature, reported Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.

According to a report from Karabakh Central Electoral Commission, 66,919 out of 95,303 people or 70.11 percent of the total number of voters took part in the election. The highest turnout was registered in Hadrut (81.37 percent), followed by Mardakert (84.24%) and Martuni (80.24%).

On the single mandate front, two ARF candidates Armen Sargsyan and Kamo Martirossian won the elections in their respective districts.

“It is a pleasure to live in a country that supports democratic values. And democracy is a value for us, along with independence and sovereignty,” said Nagorno-Karabakh Republic President Bako Sahakian after casting his vote on Sunday.

“Together with our people the [newly elected] National Assembly should be working towards achieving great successes in Karabakh’s recognition,” he added, emphasizing the Karabakh’s commitment to democratic norms and principles.

Similar views were echoed by Yerevan, where Armenia’s Foreign Minister Eduard Nalbandian said the elections attest to the commitment by the authorities and the people of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic to democracy and the rule of law.

“The recognition of the right of the people of Nagorno Karabakh to determine their own fate is at the core of the proposals presented by the OSCE Minsk Group Co-chairs,” said Nalbandian.

“In the matter of settling the Karabakh problem the international community should be primarily interested in dealing with authorities elected by the people of Karabakh,” stressed Nalbandian, adding that with the latest elections “the citizens of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic once again have proved their resolve to express their will to live freely and independently.”

As expected, Azerbaijan decried the elections and its foreign ministry claimed that the parliamentary elections would adversely impact the peace process.

Reactions from Russia and the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairmen indicated that Sunday’s elections would not hinder the ongoing peace process.

“In Moscow we do not think that the course of the Karabakh peace process could depend on the holding of elections in Karabakh,” Andrei Nesterenko, a Russian Foreign Ministry official representative, said on Monday.

“Russia supports Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity as well as other fundamental principles of international law,” he added. “As is known, we do not recognize Nagorno-Karabakh as an independent state. We believe the future status of Karabakh must be determined without the use of force and within the framework of the Minsk Group, as a result of political negotiations involving all parties.”

“Although the Co-Chairs understand the need for the de facto authorities in NK to try to organize democratically the public life of their population with such a procedure, they underscore again that Nagorno-Karabakh is not recognized as an independent and sovereign state by any of their three countries, nor by any other country, including Armenia. The Co-Chairs consider that this procedure should not preempt the determination of the final legal status of Nagorno-Karabakh in the broader framework of the peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict,” said the US, French and Russian co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group in an announcement issued Monday.

The OSCE Chairman-in-Office, Kazakhstan’s Foreign Minister Kanat Saudabayev, on Monday echoed the Minsk Group chairmen’s response and emphasized that the elections would not impact the peace process in a statement issued in the capital Astana.

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11 Comments

  1. Arman said:

    Nagorno-Karabakh is independent country and don’t need OSCE group or any other organizations’ opinion. If OSCE group doesn’t respect the will of Nagorno-Karabakh people and sit down with the official representatives of Nagorno-Karabakh, than nothing will change. EU or OSCE are bunch of crooks who try to represent their countries interests in the region. There is nothing for Nagorno-Karabakh people in here. Those organizations should refresh their memories of the killings of Sumgait and Baku.

  2. john said:

    same old talking heads droning on the usual nonsense about Artsakh non recognition, while Artsakh gets stronger by each passing day. LOL

  3. Alex Postallian said:

    The newly appointed ambassador to Azerbaijian M.Bryza,this will be the acid test on how he handles the situation.He is pro turkey,married to one: so you know the answer.He will try to DOUBLE_TALK his way.So now you know what H.Cinton thinks of the Armenian situation in Azerbaijian.WATCH THE EYES,IGNORE THE MOUTH.

  4. manooshag said:

    Hye, the freedom loving Armenians of Artsakh (Nagorno Karabagh) under constant threats by the Turk/Azeri
    yet seek to use their elections to show the world that the need for honesty in government, for a people to choose their own leaderships – without fear of despots who know not the meaning of ‘freedom’. Of all the sections of Armenia, overrun over the centuries by so many – it is the Artsakh Armenians who have maintained the Armenian genes – pure and unadulterated – Armenians, a people worthy of their own nation,
    worthy of world recognition, without the horrors of the Turks/Azeris… who are still in the Ottoman mentality.
    Manooshag

  5. Nairian said:

    Artsakh (formerly known Nagorno-Karapakh) is an independent country and like Arman says; doesn’t need EU or OSCE Minsk group to determine whether Artsakh is free or not. Artsakh was part of Armenia for thousands of years until the devil Bolsheviks gave it to the “azeri” vermins just like that. Our Fedayis went in and liberated them again right after the annihilations of Armenians living in Baku, Sumgeit and two other cities in “azerbaijan” in 1990-1994. Not one inch of land from Artsakh or the surrounding lands should be returned to the man-eater “azeri” vermins.

    I applaud and congratulate the brave people of Artsakh for voting their parliamentary elections democratically and successfuly. Good luck good people of Artsakh.

  6. basilio said:

    Bravo for the people of NKR. You have shed your blood. You have given so much. You truly deserve your country more than anyone else on earth. Do not listen to anyone but your heart and soul. This so called New World Order of corruption is full of lies and deception. The Armenian nation, the Diaspora and most importantly God will protect you.

  7. Katia K. said:

    When are we going to wage our campaign of “Outrage” against all these countries who are not recognizing the self determination of Karabagh when they have readily recognized the independence of other similar enclaves in the ex Soviet Union. Where were these countries when Azerbaijan attacked its Armenian population in Baku and Sumgait, and attempted an ethnic cleansing? They are denying the people of Karabagh their right for self determination so that they advance their own interests. We need to make the whole world know about this! Why is it that they do not recognize the territorial integrity of Western Armenia? What do you expect from countries who won’t recognize an established Genocide, and heartlessly stand in the way of justice in order to secure their interests? We are not doing enough in exposing their hypocrisy.

  8. MGL said:

    Armenia must recognize independent Karabagh without anyone’s permissions.

  9. Araxi said:

    LONG LIVE THE PEOPLE OF ARTSAKH. They are a force to be reconed with.
    Artsakh+Armenia=Greater Armenia.

  10. Nairian said:

    MGL, exactly… Armenia must first recognize the self determination of Artsakh. Artsakh was always ours and it shall remain so for millenia to come. We must publicize from all over the world Like Katia said. We Diasporans must do this and right away.

  11. Abbe said:

    I don’t eather understand why this bullshit minsk group istalking when the region already has Parlamentary votes :S
    Kindergarden ?
    Not even a half square milimeter should be returned ! BEcause these land where ours from the begining !!
    So give up Azerbaiajan. Sooner or later Nakhichevan is going to be Armenia. And when Turkey has recognized the Armenian Genocide ( When we have a strong presiden -.-‘ and not a week “listening to everything Turkey sais” fool.) Western Armenia shall be ours again too. Don’t forget that !!

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