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Armenia: Kocharyan Declared Winner Of Presidential Election

Yerevan, 1 April 1998 (RFE/RL) - Armenia's Central Elections Commission today declared Armenia's prime minister and acting president Robert Kocharyan the winner of the country's presidential runoff election. Commission chairman Robert Maukyan said Kocharyan was leading challenger Karen Demirchyan by about 59 to 41 percent of the vote with almost all precincts counted.

Monday's runoff was held after both men finished as the top vote-getters in a first round of voting on March 16.

While Kocharyan's camp celebrated victory, supporters of Demirchyan criticized the election as illegitimate and repeated a list of abuses that allegedly occurred during voting.

Some of those charges were backed in a preliminary report released today by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) which monitored the polling. But the OSCE report said the irregularities were not serious enough to have an impact on the result.

Final preliminary results are due tomorrow morning.