Yerevan: Armenia's ruling party was set to win the first parliamentary elections since the adoption of constitutional reforms transforming the country into a parliamentary republic, according to official results released on Monday.
With votes tallied from 50.4 percent of precincts, the central electoral commission said pro-Russian President Serzh Sargsyan's Republican Party was leading the main opposition coalition, led by wealthy politician Gagik Tsarukyan, by 50.43 to 28.29 percent.
"According to the elections' early results, the Republican Party has every chance of forming the new government," the party's spokesman, Eduard Sharmazanov, told a news conference.
Dashnaktsutyun, a nationalist party, received 6.88 percent of the vote and is also set to enter the parliament.
Turnout was 60.86 percent, the electoral panel said. The polls followed constitutional amendments initiated by Sargsyan in 2015 that his opponents say were designed to "perpetuate" the rule of the Republican Party, which has been in power for the last two decades.
The amendments will shift the country away from a strong presidency to a parliamentary form of government after Sargsyan 's second and final term ends in 2018.
The West sees the election as a key democratic test for the landlocked nation of 2.9 million, which has no history of transferring power to the opposition through the ballot box.
Sargsyan has said his government "made enormous efforts so that (the) milestone vote is flawless." But opposition politicians complained of violations at polling stations.
Five parties and four electoral blocs ran in Sunday's vote, with 101 parliamentary seats up for grabs under a system of proportional representation.
A party needs to clear a five-percent threshold to be represented in parliament, while an electoral bloc -- an entity made up of several parties -- needs to garner at least seven percent of the vote.
Voting was monitored by observers from the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE)....