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Armenia/Azerbaijan: Nagorno Presidential Candidates Register

Prague, 6 August 1997 (RFE/RL) -- The Central Election Commission of the self-proclaimed Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh yesterday registered three candidates for the presidential elections to be held on September 1.

They are the current Foreign Minister of the Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh Arkadii Ghukasyan, parliament speaker Artur Tovmasyan, and parliament deputy Boris Arushanyan. Acting president Leonid Petrossyan is not running as a candidate.

The post of president became vacant in March 1997, when incumbent Robert Kocharyan was appointed Prime Minister of Armenia. Kocharyan had been elected Nagorno-Karabakh's president in a poll in November 1996, which was not recognized as valid either by Azerbaijan or by the international community.

In those elections Kocharyan polled over 86 percent of the vote. His closest rival, Boris Arushanyan, polled 6.9 percent. Observers expect that the September vote will be a race between Ghukasyan and Arushanyan.