Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan won Sunday’s early legislative elections, full results published Monday by the Central Elections Commission showed.
Pashinyan’s “Civil Contract” party won about 53.9% of the votes after all the ballot papers were counted, which would allow it to form a new government on its own.
The list of former President Robert Kocharian won 21% of the vote, according to the results, but the latter objects to this result, denouncing the occurrence of “fraud”.
Observers fear protests and even riots after a heated election campaign polarized Armenian society a few months after Yerevan suffered a major military defeat against Azerbaijan.
Armenia lost swathes of territory in the six-week war last year that claimed thousands of lives.
Pashinyan declared victory in the early hours of Monday morning, urging his supporters to gather in the main square of the capital Yerevan in the evening.
“The people of Armenia have given the Civil Contract Party the mandate to lead the country, and I personally will lead the country as prime minister,” he said.
He added: “We already know that we won a convincing victory in the elections, and we will have a convincing majority in Parliament.”
Nearly 50 percent of the country’s 2.6 million eligible voters cast their ballots on Sunday, election officials said, adding that the vote was conducted in accordance with legislation.
Kocharian’s coalition said it would not recognize Pashinyan’s claim to victory, which he made when 30 percent of the electoral districts were counted.
The bloc said in a statement: “Hundreds of signs from polling stations testify to organized and planned fraud, which constitutes a serious cause of mistrust.”
On Sunday evening, the Public Prosecution Office said that it had received 319 reports of violations and had opened six criminal investigations. All of these reports were related to alleged bribery during the election campaign.
Kocharyan, a friend and ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, had previously been accused of rigging a presidential election in favor of a political ally.
He was also accused of leading a bloody crackdown on protesters in 2008.
Pashinyan came to power after leading a popular revolution in 2018, and some countries around the world praised Armenia when it held its first free and fair elections that year.
But the country has been in a political crisis since November 2020, when Mr. Pashinyan signed a Moscow-brokered armistice with Azerbaijan to end the Nagorno-Karabakh war.
And 2904 Azerbaijani soldiers were killed in last year’s war. Armenia lost an estimated 4,000 soldiers.