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President of the International Expert Center for Electoral Systems (ICES) Alexander Zinker says the authorities of Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh Republic) need a legitimate mandate in order to lead successful negotiations.

“Governed by the particular articles of the Constitution of the Republic of Artsakh, the Central Electoral Commission has set the subsequent presidential and parliamentary elections for March 31, 2020. An electoral process has officially begun in the de facto country. For the past 29 years, citizens of Artsakh have been exercising their inviolable right to form state institutions through democracy and expression of free will. When the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic was being formed, there was great focus on the establishment of institutional and legislative foundations,” he said.

The political scientist stated that the citizens of Artsakh established the State and institutions through the consensus of the public and elite and that this was expressed during the holding of two major referenda, including the referendum for Independence of Nagorno-Karabakh in 1991 and the referendum for adoption of the Constitution of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic in 2006..

According to the expert, experts of the ICES observed elections in Nagorno-Karabakh in 2012 and 2015.

“Our experts have observed elections in post-Soviet countries, and as strange as it may sound, we noticed that the elections in the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic were at the highest level in terms of organization and holding of the elections.

In the meantime, several international organizations, as well as the countries of the OSCE Minsk Group don’t recognize the elections in the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic.  In spite of the fact that the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic is unrecognized, international observers have always observed the campaigns for all presidential and parliamentary elections and have represented different international organizations. The presence of international observers at the elections in Artsakh and their positive conclusions, even though non-official, may affirm not only the legitimacy of the government, but also the legitimacy that the people have given the government, and this is a major point in the talks over the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.”

The election campaign for presidential and parliamentary elections in Artsakh kicked off today, and the elections will be held on March 31.

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