OSCE: Armenia vote mostly OK

Armenia Materials 20 February 2008 16:47 (UTC +04:00)

(AP) - An influential international observer mission said Armenia's presidential election was "mostly in line with the country's international commitments, although further improvements are necessary."

Armenia's election commission on Wednesday declared Prime Minister Serge Sarkisian the winner, while more than 15,000 opposition supporters protested in the capital, claiming the Tuesday vote was rigged.

The generally approving assessment of the observers of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe could undermine the momentum of opposition protesters.

The OSCE mission, in a preliminary statement, said there were concerns about the vote count.

"The problems we observed, particularly during the counting, must be addressed to increase overall confidence in the electoral process," Anne-Marie Lizin, one of the mission coordinators, said in the statement.

But "compared to the previous presidential elections, significant progress was noted with regard to the preparation and conduct of the electoral process," said Marie Anne Isler, head of the European Parliament contingent within the OSCE mission.