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Free Homeland party leads count in Karabakh parliamentary vote

© RIA Novosti . Ilya Pitalev / Go to the photo bankNagorny Karabakh, Stepankort
Nagorny Karabakh, Stepankort  - Sputnik International
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According to preliminary results in Nagorny Karabakh's parliamentary polls, the Free Homeland party is leading in the ballot count, the breakaway republic's central elections committee said on Monday.

According to preliminary results in Nagorny Karabakh's parliamentary polls, the Free Homeland party is leading in the ballot count, the breakaway republic's central elections committee said on Monday.

The predominantly ethnic Armenian region, at the center of a dispute between the former Soviet republics of Armenia and Azerbaijan since the late 1980s, elected its 33-seat parliament on Sunday with voter turnout of 67.8%.

The elections were monitored by more than 100 international observers.

"According to preliminary results, the Free Homeland party headed by Prime Minister Ara Arutyunyan has garnered 64% of votes. In the second place is the Democratic Party of Artsakh headed by parliamentary speaker Ashot Gulyan, with 20.2% of votes," the committee spokesman said.

He added that the Communist Party, with only 4.8% of the vote, had not cleared the 6% barrier for entry into the parliament.

Azerbaijani elections officials have called the elections "illegal," saying they could seriously harm the Armenian-Azerbaijani peace efforts.

The conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over Nagorny Karabakh first erupted in 1988, when the region claimed independence from Azerbaijan to join Armenia.

Over 30,000 people are estimated to have died on both sides between 1988 and 1994, when a ceasefire was agreed. Nagorny Karabakh has remained in Armenian control and tensions between Azerbaijan and Armenia have persisted.

The conflict has been mediated by the OSCE Minsk Group that comprises the United States, Russia and France.

YEREVAN, May 24 (RIA Novosti)

 

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