Ruling party has big lead in Armenia vote: partial count

With votes tallied from 13.

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8 per cent of precincts, the Central Electoral Commission said pro-Russian President Serzh Sarkisian’s Republican Party was leading the main opposition coalition, led by wealthy politician Gagik Tsarukian, by 55.9 to 25.4 per cent.

“According to the elections’ early results, the Republican Party has every chance of forming the new government,” the party’s spokesman, Eduard Sharmazanov, told a news conference.

Dashnaktsutyun, a nationalist party, received 8.9 percent of the vote and is also set to enter the parliament.  

Sunday’s legislative elections were the first since the adoption of constitutional reforms to transform the country into a parliamentary democracy.

Turnout was 60.86 percent, the electoral panel said.

The West sees the election as a key democratic test for the landlocked nation of 2.9 million, which has no history of transferring power to the opposition through the ballot box.

Sarkisian has said his government “made enormous efforts so that (the) milestone vote is flawless.” But opposition politicians complained of violations at polling stations.

Five parties and four electoral blocs ran in  Sunday’s vote, with 101 parliamentary seats up for grabs under a system of proportional representation.

A party needs to clear a five-percent threshold to be represented in parliament, while an electoral bloc — an entity made up of several parties — needs to garner at least seven percent of the vote.

Voting was monitored by observers from the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).