Monday, June 20, 2005

Karabagh Elections

A1 Plus reports that parliamentary elections in the unrecognized and breakaway territory of Nagorno Karabagh were held yesterday. According to the Central Elections Commission (CEC) of the self-declared republic situated within Azerbaijan, 73.6 per cent of eligible voters took part. However, results will not be known until later today or even tomorrow.
The course of the elections was relatively quiet. There were no written complaints from the candidates or from the electors.
Still too early to say but it would appear that once again, for reasons which are too long to list here, the elections were considerably more democratic than parliamentary elections that took place in Armenia during 2003. As long as this remains the case, Karabagh can present to the outside world the idea that it has the ability to establish a democratic state in the region.

Of course, the international community might not recognize these elections or even monitor them that closely but given that parliamentary elections are scheduled for November in Azerbaijan proper, it is vital that democratic conditions, in regional terms, remain intact. That said, preliminary reports from ArmInfo indicate that the Armenian Revolutionary Federation - Dashnaktsutyun (ARF-D) did badly.

As part of the official opposition in Karabagh, I wonder whether they will concede defeat or instead claim that the vote was rigged. It's hard to say as there is no OSCE observation mission in the territory for the elections. Incidentally the BBC also covered the elections. Anyway, the A1 Plus report can be read online here.

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