Karabakh re-elects leader
STEPANAKERT, Azerbaijan - Agence France-PresseThe unrecognized region of Nagorno-Karabakh region re-elected leader Bako Sahakyan, amid growing tensions between Azerbaijan and Armenia over its status, officials said on July 20.
Sahakyan received 66.7 percent of the vote while his main rival, retired army Gen. Vitaliy Balasanian, got 32.5 percent, according to the preliminary results published on the central election commission’s website. Turnout was 73.4 percent in vote on July 19, it added. Internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan, Nagorno-Karabakh was seized by ethnic Armenians backed by Yerevan in a war after the collapse of the Soviet Union that claimed some 30,000 lives. “By holding free and fair elections, we have demonstrated to the outside world that we are a democracy while Azerbaijan continues to be an authoritarian state,” Sahakyan’s spokesman, David Babaian said. Azerbaijan has denounced the polls as “illegal.”