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Nagorno-Karabakh Republic (NKR), or Artsakh, presidential candidate Vitali Balasanyan issued a statement Friday on the results of Thursday’s presidential elections.

“We proved to the world and to ourselves that the people of Artsakh are ready to become the masters of their future. And the elections showed that at least one-third of our population does not agree with the policy being conducted and it demands changes.

The President-in-office and his team were unable to secure fair elections. The elections were free, but not fair. [And] I consider the votes [I] received under these conditions to be a good result, which is a serious foundation for creating a new political institution. [And] One of the primary goals of this institution will be the protection of our citizens’ rights.    

I thank all those who voted for me. I salute all those who listened to their conscience and voted for the other candidates.  

I thank all the media and observers that impartially carried out their duties during the entire course of the elections. 

I thank all those persons and organizations of Artsakh, the Rep. of Armenia, and the [Armenian] Diaspora, which expressed their support for me and for my election program,” Vitali Balasanyan’s statement specifically reads.

As Armenian informed earlier, incumbent NKR President Bako Sahakyan won the elections by receiving a great majority of the votes. According to preliminary figures, Sahakyan received 47,085 votes (66.7%), NKR National Assembly MP Vitali Balasanyan received 22,966 votes (32.5%), and Deputy Director Arkadi Soghomonyan of Academic Activities at the NKR capital Stepanakert Branch of State Agrarian University of Armenia received 594 votes (0.8%).

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