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Armenia: Incumbent President In Disputed Enclave Re-Elected

Yerevan, 12 August 2002 (RFE/RL) -- Arkadii Ghukasian, the incumbent president of the unrecognized Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, has been re-elected for a second five-year term. A spokesman for the election commission, Leonid Martirosian, said Ghukasian received over 88 percent of the vote in yesterday's election. The other three candidates failed to win more than 12 percent between them. The spokesman said 73 percent of the region's 87,000 registered voters cast ballots.

Nagorno-Karabakh is located within Azerbaijan, but is inhabited mainly by ethnic Armenians, who declared independence in 1991, sparking a conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia. A cease-fire was declared in 1994 but a permanent settlement is proving elusive.

The international community -- including the European Union, Russia, and the Council of Europe -- criticized the election, which they said will be a setback to settlement efforts.