STEPANAKERT — On Sunday people in Nagorno-Karabakh elected their new parliament in general polls to determine the mandates in the 33-seat National Assembly. According to Karabakh’s Central Election Commission (CEC), just over 70 percent of the territory’s 100,000 or so eligible voters cast ballots in Sunday’s elections.

Representatives of Israel, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Belgium, Estonia, Mexico, Bulgaria, Germany, Russia, Zimbabwe, South Ossetia, Armenia and European Union Parliament (MEP) members monitored the vote. The observers expressed their satisfaction with the voting process. Speaking of the position of the European Union and other international organizations, MEP Marc Engel said: “The fact that I’m here today at least shows that I recognize the elections. I consider that the people of Nagorno Karabakh prefer democracy without recognition to recognition without democracy.”

According to preliminary results, the ruling Free Motherland party led by Prime Minister Ara Harutyunyan received 47.35 percent of the vote, head of the NKR Central Electoral Commission Srbuhi Arzumanyan told reporters today.

Pro government Karabakh’s Democratic Party (headed by current Speaker speaker Ashot Gulian) came second with 19.1 percent and Armenian Revolutionary Federation received 18.51 percent of the vote.

The two opposition parties – Movement-88 and National Revival – got 6.93 percent and 5.38 percent of the vote respectively.

Based on these results Nagorno-Karabakh’s three main pro-government parties lost some ground to two opposition groups but still retained their comfortable majority in the local legislature.

As was the case during the previous elections held in Karabakh, Azerbaijan condemned the latest vote as illegal and illegitimate. Baku on Friday also threatened to launch criminal proceedings against the foreign observers who travelled to “the occupied territories of Azerbaijan.”

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