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5,000 protesters dispute Armenia election result

Wednesday - 2/20/2013, 12:41pm  ET

Presidential candidate Raffi Hovanessian gestures during a meeting with supporters in Yerevan, Armenia, Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2013. American-born Raffi Hovanessian, Armenia's first foreign minister after the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union, on Tuesday called the election unfair and rigged, claiming cases of ballot-box stuffing and voters being coerced to back Armenia's President Serge Sarkisian. Armenia's president easily won a second term, according to preliminary election results Tuesday, but international observers said the vote "lacked competition." (AP Photo/Tigran Mehrabyan, PanARMENIAN)

YEREVAN, Armenia (AP) -- About 5,000 supporters of a presidential candidate in Armenia, who has lost to the incumbent, have protested the election results.

President Serge Sarkisian easily won a second five-year term in Monday's vote, getting nearly 59 percent of the vote. The closest of his six rivals, American-born Raffi Hovanessian, polled 37 percent.

Hovanessian, Armenia's first foreign minister after the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union, has called the election unfair and rigged, and declared himself the genuine winner.

On Wednesday, about 5,000 of his supporters gathered in the capital to back Hovanessian's demands. Hovanessian challenged the incumbent to come to the square in Yerevan, and some of his followers pledged to remain there through the night.

International monitors said the election "lacked competition," but noted improvements compared to the previous poll.


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