ARMENIAN POLL RESULTS SHOW PASHINYAN’S PARTY LEADING
Armenia's ruling party and its opposition bloc emerged as the strongest forces in the country's parliamentary elections on Sunday night as the first ballots were counted, Ulf Mauder and Awet Demurjan reported for Deutsche Presse-Agentur (dpa) reported.
Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan's Civil Contract party was in the lead with just under 57 percent after votes were counted in more than two-thirds of polling stations. Meanwhile, former president Robert Kocharian's Armenia Alliance had just under 19 percent, according to the election commission in Yerevan.
Pashinyan celebrated a "convincing majority" in front of his supporters in the early hours of Monday morning. After the "fierce trials" of the recent past, he said, it was time for "social and national unity."
Kocharian's team meanwhile cast doubt on the credibility of the interim results and said there were many indications of electoral fraud. The election is being monitored by experts from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).
They recently assessed the voting as largely fair and free and expect to deliver an overall verdict on Monday.
The elections come seven months after a war for control of Nagorno-Karabakh that saw the country suffer losses at the hands of Azerbaijan, which has left its politics unsettled.
Long queues formed outside polling stations earlier on Sunday. According to a dpa reporter on the scene, many people said they were disillusioned with Pashinyan, but complained that his main opponent Kocharian didn't have a "clean vest" either.