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Parliamentary elections started in the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic (NKR) at 8:00 a.m. local time on May 23. Two hundred and seventy-two polling stations were opened in 16 election districts. One polling station was opened at the NKR Representation in Yerevan.

Elections were held on a mixed proportional and single-member basis. Four political parties laid claims to 17 out of 33 seats in the NKR Parliament: Free Homeland led by NKR Prime Minister Ara Harutyunyan (a 35-member list), Democratic Party of Artsakh led by Parliament Speaker Ashot Ghulyan (a 32-member list), Armenian Revolutionary Federation Dashnakstutyun (ARFD) (a 10-member list), and the Communist Party of Artsakh led by Hrant Melkumyan (a 5-member list). As regards the 16 single-member constituencies, 40 candidates were running for Parliament. To be elected, the parties have to receive at least 6% of votes.

The voters’ lists include 94,900 names, and a voter turnout of 25% has to be registered for the elections to be considered valid.

Twenty-nine international and 31 local journalists, 113 foreign and 22 local observers got registered for the 23 May parliamentary elections in Nagorno-Karabakh. Representatives from the French Institute of Democracy and Cooperation, Yezid and Greek communities, Russian political experts, delegations from South Ossetia and Abkhazia, the head of French Association of Doctors in Law and others were among the observers.

On its part, Azerbaijan made a statement, strongly criticizing elections in the NKR and calling them “illegal”. In its turn, official Ankara expressed its support for Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity, designating the NKR elections as violating international law.

T.P.

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