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Armenia: Tension Rises After President Named Election Winner

By Mardiros Sogham

Yerevan, 24 September 1996 (RFE/RL) -- Tension rose and troops were deployed in the Armenian capital today after the Central Electoral Commission announced that incumbent Levon Ter-Petrosyan won Sunday's presidential election.

Our correspondent reports that commando troops were deployed around the parliament today, which also houses the Electoral Commission. Tens of thousands of demonstrators massed outside for a second day, charging the government with rigging the poll.

With votes in 10 of the country's 11 constituencies already counted, Ter-Petrosyan received some 52 percent of the vote. His closest rival, former Prime Minister Vasgen Manukyan, who had the support of several opposition groups, received just over 40 percent, according to the commission.

Manukyan, who criticized the president for his reform policy and style of leadership, has alleged widespread fraud, intimidation of voters and other irregularities. Several observers from the Organization For Security in Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) corroborated the reports, though observers representing the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) called the poll fair.

Yesterday, Defense Minister Vasgen Sargissian warned Armenians on national television not to continue public demonstrations.