With 86 percent of the vote counted as of last night, Armenia’s Central Electoral Commission credited Prime Minister and Acting President Robert Kocharian with 59 percent of the votes cast in the March 30 presidential runoff. The former Communist party leader Karen Demirchian obtained 41 percent, according to the CEC. The Commission’s chairman, Hachadur Bezirjian, pronounced the election on the whole free and fair. (Western agencies, March 31) International observers and many Armenians tend to regard Bezirjian’s statements cautiously because he had chaired the CEC also in the 1996 presidential election, which was rigged in favor of the then-incumbent president Levon Ter-Petrosian. (On Kocharian’s and Demirchian’s profiles and platforms and on the runoff campaign see Monitor, March 12, 16, 18 and 29)
"Zviadist" Chieftain Killed.