Armenia Ruling Party Wins Parliamentary Electionsإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
Armenia's governing party on Monday won parliamentary elections seen as a test of the ex-Soviet state's fragile democracy but opposition leaders alleged violations and vowed protests.
European election observers from the OSCE praised the election process as competitive but said it had been undermined by a series of democratic failings including pressure on voters and an inadequate complaints process.
President Serzh Sarkisian's Republican party took 44.05 percent of the vote after all ballots from Sunday's contest were counted, the Central Election Commission said.
Its outgoing coalition partner turned poll rival, the Prosperous Armenia party led by a millionaire former arm wrestling champion, came second with 30.20 per cent.
Trailing far behind, the third-place opposition Armenian National Congress bloc scraped into parliament with 7.10 percent, according to final preliminary results posted on the commission's website.
Three other parties, Heritage, the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutiun) and Rule of Law also managed to secure minor representation in the legislative body by scoring just over five percent.
The authorities had promised Armenia's fairest ever polls as they sought to avoid a repeat of protests which ended in clashes between riot police and opposition supporters after disputed presidential elections in 2008 that left 10 people dead.
"Armenia deserves recognition for its electoral reforms and its open and peaceful campaign environment but, in this race, several stakeholders too often failed to comply with the law and election commissions too often failed to enforce it," the OSCE observer mission to Armenia said in a statement.
"As a result, the international commitments to which Armenia has freely subscribed were not always respected," the statement said.
The observer mission said that the freedom of assembly and expression were generally respected during the campaign but the lack of public confidence in the electoral process was "an issue of great concern".
It also said that pressure on voters and an inadequate complaints process created an "unequal playing field".
Local media have also reported allegations of polling-day violations including incidents of parties bribing voters but it was not clear how widespread such incidents were.
A monitoring alliance including Prosperous Armenia and the Armenian National Congress opposition bloc led by former president Levon Ter-Petrosian has expressed "doubts about the legitimacy of the electoral process".
Ter-Petrosian's bloc, which led the demonstrations against the alleged 2008 vote-rigging that ended in violence, said it would stage a mass protest in Yerevan on Tuesday evening.
Campaigning in the Caucasus state of 3.3 million people mainly focused on issues of unemployment, poverty and emigration rather than Armenia's long-running political disputes with neighbors Turkey and Azerbaijan.
Landlocked and impoverished Armenia has suffered economically because its borders with both countries are closed.
No final peace deal has been signed with Azerbaijan since the 1990s war over the region of Nagorny Karabakh, and gun battles often erupt along the front line.
Efforts to restore diplomatic relations with Turkey, which could have ended decades of enmity over the World War I genocide of Armenians under the Ottoman empire, have also been frozen.