Bako Sahakian Wins Presidential Race in Karabakh
STEPANAKERT–Bako Sahakian won the presidential elections in the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic garnering 85.4 percent of the votes, according to preliminary results issued by the Central Electoral Commission of Karabakh.
Sahakian was followed by Karabakh deputy foreign minister Massis Mayilian with 12 percent of the votes, Karabakh parliament member Armen Abyaryan with 1.2 percent, Communist leader Hrant Melkoumyan with .8 percent and Artsakh State Universiry professor Vanya Avanessian with .2 percent of the votes.
According to the Karabakh CEC, 71,285 voters (77.36 percent of 92,152 registered voters) participated in the presidential elections.
Armenian President Robert Kocharian congratulated the newly elected president of Nagorno Karabakh Bako Sahakian.
“I congratulate you on being elected the president of the Republic of Nagorno Karabakh. I am sure that under your leadership, in cooperation with other branches of government, and with the efforts of all the people of Artsakh the economic and political development of Nagorno Karabakh will continue. I believe that you will undertake steps toward the regulation of the issues of the country and the people with new spirit. The elections witnessed that the Karabakh statehood is based on the consolidation of democratic principles. I wish you success in the name of Artsakh and its people," read Kocharian’s statement.
“We congratulate the successful presidential elections in Nagorno Karabakh. We congratulate also Bako Sahakyan, the winner of the elections,” head of the observation mission from the Russian Federation, Director of the CIS Institute Konstantin Zatulin declared during today’s briefing.
“Again Nagorno Karabakh proved its commitment to its right of democracy and development,” he noted. Expressing confidence that in the future a number of countries will recognize the independence of Kosovo, Russian observer Konstantin Zatulin noted that the trend of democratization and development in Nagorno Karabakh create opportunities for attracting attention.
A group of Russian observers issued a statement on the Presidential elections. The statement said that the elections were transparent, free and legal. The shortcomings were of technical nature. At the same time, the Russian observers expressed regret that representatives of the Council of Europe and other structures did not recognize the results of the elections.
Initially 91,166 voters had been registered in the list about 800 citizens were included in the voting lists by documen’s provided by passport departmen’s, other 39 people restored their voting right through court.
In Stepanakert 64.6 percent of the voters participated in the elections, in Askeran region 77.58 percent, in Shahumian region 96.35 percent, in Shoushi 83.64, in Kashatagh 85.88. In Yerevan, in the building of Karabakh representation in Armenia, 242 citizens of Karabakh came to vote.
According to the Karabakh Electoral code, the elections are considered valid in case 25 percent of eligible voters participate in the voting. The initial results will be summed up in 24 hours after the elections and final results 72 hours after the elections.
The five candidates participating in the ballot are Bako Sahakian, Masis Maylian, parliament deputy Armen Abgarian; Nagorno-Karabakh Communist Party leader Hrant Melkumian; and Vanya Avanesian, a professor at Artsakh State University
The outgoing president of Nagorno-Karabakh Arkady Ghoukasian said Thursday, after casting his ballot in the presidential elections, that the republic will be in the hands of a “very reliable” man who will fulfill his duties of president with honor.
Ghoukasian said Nagorno-Karabakh’s involvement in the conflict resolution process was imminent, because only that way the conflict could be settled.
“If Nagorno-Karabakh is not in the talks then these talks are meaningless and they could hardly produce any result,” he said.
The head of the Central Election Commission Sergey Nasibyan hailed the election campaign as democratic and transparent saying local and foreign observers were monitoring the polls. Figures about voter turnout are published every three hour.
Observers of the Karabakh presidential elections from the inter-parliamentary assembly of member countries of “For Democracy and Rights of Peoples” community highlighted the high level of organization and conduct of presidential elections.
The Secretary General of the inter-parliamentary assembly of member countries of “For Democracy and Rights of Peoples” community Grigory Marakutsa said, “The elections in Nagorno Karabakh are took place high level and the observers did not register serious violations.”
Marakutsa also said that “The organization and pace of elections correspond to the international standards and European democratic norms.”
Leaders of Nagorno-Karabakh downplayed a wave of statemen’s denouncing the election as illegal and saying that the international community will not recognize its legitimacy.
Thus Nagorno-Karabakh parliament chairman Ashot Ghulian advised to ignore these statemen’s, saying the people’s choice and their attitude to the election is more important.
Prime Minister Anushavan Danielian said Nagorno-Karabakh is moving in the right direction. He described Council of Europe secretary general, Terry Davis’ statement that the body will not recognize the election as “disrespect towards partners.”
“Why then when high ranking officials of Council of Europe come to Nagorno-Karabakh, they as to meet with its elected officials-president, parliament chairman, prime minister and others, and make statemen’s?” he asked.
Bako Sahakian, a former security chief said the election will give the international community another opportunity to perceive Nagorno-Karabakh as an independent state.
The Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) condemned Thursday the presidential vote held in Nagorno-Karabakh as a sign of Armenia’s "aggression" against the Muslim country.
"The so-called ‘elections’ gravely violate relevant norms and principles of international law… This act and its results therefore have no legal effect," said OIC Secretary General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu in a statement.
"The OIC fully recognizes the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Republic of Azerbaijan," he said, adding that the world’s largest Islamic body "once again strongly condemns the aggression of the Republic of Armenia against the Republic of Azerbaijan."
Voters went to the polls Thursday in Nagorno-Karabakh to elect a new president for this isolated ethnic Armenian-controlled mountain enclave. Officials said they hoped the vote would shore up the region’s democratic credentials, boosting its efforts to become an internationally recognized country after 15 years of self-declared independence following the messy break-up of the Soviet Union.
The OIC on Thursday urged an "immediate, complete and unconditional withdrawal of Armenian occupying forces from the occupied territories of Azerbaijan."