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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Armenia Elects Ex-Soviet Boss




YEREVAN, Armenia -- Armenia is unlikely to make big policy changes after the election victory of former Soviet chief Karen Demirchyan and Defense Minister Vazgen Sargsyan, political analysts said Tuesday.


But tensions were likely between their Unity bloc alliance and President Robert Kocharyan after Unity won more than 40 percent of the votes in Sunday's parliamentary election and incomplete returns put the Communists second with 12.5 percent, they said.


"Kocharyan could have problems with the Unity bloc. He must always now take them into account," said Hagob Avedikian, editor in chief of the Azg daily newspaper.


But Avedikian said Kocharyan, who is a solid backer of market reforms in the former Soviet republic, was not likely to seek open confrontation with Unity.


Two groups of foreign observers - from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and the European Parliament - said in preliminary reports that they were satisfied with the conduct of the elections.


But observers from a private American group, the National Democratic Institute, said Tuesday that the election was marred by numerous violations and fell short of generally accepted international standards.


Demirchyan, who leads the Unity bloc with Defense Minister Vazgen Sargsyan, was defeated by Kocharyan in the 1998 presidential election.