Armenian president re-elected, opposition cries foul

YEREVAN Tue Feb 19, 2013 2:10am EST

Armenia's current President Serzh Sarksyan (R) and his wife Rita leave a polling station after voting during the presidential election in Yerevan, February 18, 2013. REUTERS/David Mdzinarishvili

Armenia's current President Serzh Sarksyan (R) and his wife Rita leave a polling station after voting during the presidential election in Yerevan, February 18, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/David Mdzinarishvili

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YEREVAN (Reuters) - Armenian President Serzh Sarksyan has won a new five-year term, the Central Electoral Commission said on Tuesday.

Police said after polls closed on Monday that they had received 70 reports of voting violations, including bribery at polling stations, and that they had opened two criminal investigations.

The president, 58, has vowed to sustain economic recovery in his landlocked South Caucasus country and said before the vote he would ensure stability and security after years of war and upheaval though he outlined no big policy changes.

Preliminary results released by the Central Electoral Commission showed Sarksyan had won 58.6 percent of the votes cast. His closest rival, U.S.-born Raffi Hovannisian, who served previously as foreign minister, was on nearly 37 percent of votes.

The preliminary results followed an exit poll immediately after voting ended in the former Soviet republic which had put Sarksyan on 58 percent of the votes.

The opposition Heritage Party said that some ballots cast for opposition parties had been thrown out, although there was no indication whether it would challenge the vote, which passed without any major violence.

(Reporting By Hasmik Mkrtchyan, Writing by Thomas Grove, Editing by Timothy Heritage)

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