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Turnout in Armenia parliamentary polls 29.7%

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YEREVAN, May 12 (RIA Novosti) - A total of 29.7% of more than 2 million Armenian voters had cast their votes to elect the country's fourth parliament by 2 p.m. local time (9 a.m. GMT), election authorities said Saturday.

Twenty-two parties and one election bloc are running for the 131-seat parliament in Armenia, which will face presidential elections next spring. About 53 local organizations and six international missions are monitoring the polls.

Alina Yengoyan, spokeswoman for the Court of Cassation, said 51 complaints had been filed by 2 p.m. local time about lacking names on voting lists, and most of them had been granted.

An opposition party, Zharangutyun (Legacy), said it was collecting all alleged violations associated with the parliamentary elections.

"In the past month, we registered thousands of various violations, and we intend to name them using verified evidence, which we are collecting at our information center," said Raffi Ovannisyan, a former foreign minister and leader of the pro-Western party.

Zharangutyun is not represented in the current legislature but analysts say the party, which has strong connections with Armenian diasporas in the West, stands high chances of crossing the five-percent barrier and making it into parliament.

In the runup to the elections, thousands of opposition supporters gathered in the streets of Yerevan, the capital, Thursday to protest against the rule of President Robert Kocharyan and demand his resignation. The opposition also vowed to resume protests Sunday if the elections turned out to be fraudulent.

The favorite of the race is the Republican Party (HHK) of Prime Minister Serzh Sarkisyan, which is running together with pro-presidential Prosperous Armenia and Dashnatsutyun.

Apart from Zharangutyun, the leading opposition parties include Impeachment, Republic, and New Times.

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