Armenian president ready to ease state of emergency

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Outgoing Armenian President Robert Kocharyan said on Wednesday he was prepared to ease the state of emergency regime imposed on March 1 in Yerevan after protests over recent presidential election results.
YEREVAN, March 12 (RIA Novosti) - Outgoing Armenian President Robert Kocharyan said on Wednesday he was prepared to ease the state of emergency regime imposed on March 1 in Yerevan after protests over recent presidential election results.

Eight people were killed and over 130 wounded in Armenia's capital on March 1 in clashes between police and supporters of Levon Ter-Petrosyan, who was defeated by Prime Minister Serzh Sarkisyan in the February 19 vote. Sarkisyan gained 52.8% of the vote against his rival's 21.5%. Protesters said the polls were rigged.

"This evening or tomorrow morning I'll sign a decree to change the approach. Under the current state of emergency we indicate what may be done, while the new decree will indicate what may not be done," Kocharyan said.

The state of emergency in Yerevan is expected to last until March 20.

Meanwhile, Sarkisyan reiterated that he had won the presidential election fairly.

"I believe that I won an honest victory at the presidential election, all the more so as I received the people's trust at the parliamentary election [in May 2007]," he said.

The Republican Party led by Sarkisyan received 65 out of 131 seats in the Armenian parliament last year.

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