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Armenia: Kocharian Heads Toward Re-Election Victory

Yerevan, 20 February 2003 (RFE/RL) -- Robert Kocharian (pictured) appears headed for a first-round re-election victory in Armenia's presidential election. Reports say partial results from Yerevan and some regions show Kocharian winning more than 52 percent of yesterday's vote.

Opposition candidates Stepan Demirchian and Artashes Geghamian were trailing in second and third place, respectively.

It was not immediately clear what percentage of the vote has been counted. Voter turnout was reported at about 62 percent.

Kocharian spokesman Vahagn Mkrtchian described the vote as being "truly free and fair." Armenian authorities have reported no major violations.

However, in a joint statement, opposition candidates accused the authorities of falsifying the vote in Kocharian's favor through "massive irregularities and violence."