STEPANAKERT — The National Assembly of Nagorno-Karabakh republic on Wednesday voted overwhelmingly to re-elect Bako Sahakian president for an interim period of three years.

28 lawmakers voted in favor of the incumbent president, with 4 others voting for the other candidate, opposition MP Eduard Aghabekian. 32 out of the overall 33 MPs were present at the special session of the parliament.

Sahakian, 56, was reelected at the end of his second five-year term in office. He was not allowed to stay in power longer before Karabakh enacted a new constitution in a referendum held in February.

The new constitution calls for the NKR’s transition by 2020 to a fully presidential system of government which will lead to the abolition of the post of prime minister. The authorities in Stepanakert say this change will put Karabakh in a better position to cope with the unresolved conflict with Azerbaijan. When the mandate of the current Parliament expires,  nationwide elections will be held in the country.

Addressing the legislature before the vote, Sahakian said that Karabakh will need continued “stability” during the three-year transition period. He also defended his track record, saying that his administration has strengthened democracy and sped up economic growth in the last ten years.

Sahakian also stated that Azerbaijani offensives launched at two sections of the Karabakh “line of contact” last April failed to achieve their main objectives. He also said that the Karabakh government is now addressing “problems” exposed by the four-day hostilities and will continue to strengthen Karabakh’s armed forces.

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