ISTANBUL — Patriarchal locum tenens, Bishop Sahak Mashalyan has received the vast majority of votes in the elections of the 85th Armenian Patriarch of Constantinople.

According to data released late Sunday by the election organizing committee, the Orange List received 9008 votes, providing 89 delegates for Mashalyan. The Violet List, led by Archbishop Aram Ateshyan, received 3,529 votes and 12 delegates. One delegate preferred to remain independent. 753 ballots were declared invalid, 376 people voted with blank ballots. The 17 religious delegated were elected on December 7 by the General Religious Assembly.

On the morning of December 8, the Armenians of of Istanbul cast their votes for the 103 secular delegates representing the two candidates. Heavy turnouts were observed at polling stations in the most densely populated Armenian districts of Istanbul although many eligible voters did not come to the polls, considering the elections to be unfair, since the election law established by the Turkish state limited the possibility of nominating a number of clerics as candidates.

The elections of the Armenian Patriarch of Constantinople are held in two stages in accordance with the National Constitution of 1863. The clergy and secular delegates elect the patriarch together. The name of the new Armenian Patriarch of Constantinople will be known on December 11 and Bishop Sahak Mashalian is most likely to be elected the next Armenian Patriarch of Constantinople

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