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Armenian Opposition Leader Meets With President Amid Protests


Thousands gathered for a rally by opposition candidate Raffi Hovannisian in Yerevan on February 20.
YEREVAN -- Armenian presidential candidate Raffi Hovannisian, who disputes the results of the February 18 presidential election, has met with incumbent President Serzh Sarkisian.

Hovannisian, a former foreign minister, spoke to hundreds of his protesting supporters in Yerevan after the meeting and asked them to suspend their demonstration.

He called on them to gather again on February 22 in the capital's Liberty Square for an approved rally where he said he would discuss the results of his meeting at the president's office.

On February 20, several thousand supporters of former Foreign Minister Raffi Hovannisian, Sarkisian's strongest challenger, gathered in Yerevan's Liberty Square to demand the cancelation of the election results.

Sarkisian was declared the election's winner with 58.64 percent of the vote and Hovannisian came in second with 36.75 percent.

After the results were announced, Hovannisian said the vote was rigged.

Election observers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe said on February 19 that the presidential vote was an improvement on recent elections but was not genuinely competitive.