My MO Info, Missouri
March 29 2013

YEREVAN (Reuters) - Defeated Armenian presidential candidate Raffi
Hovannisian said on Friday he was ending a hunger strike over
allegations President Serzh Sarksyan rigged last month's vote, but
vowed to continue street protests.

Armenia's Constitutional Court has rejected challenges lodged by
Hovannisian over the February 18 poll which Sarksyan won with 58.6
percent of the vote. Hovannisian came second with 37 percent.

The head of the opposition Heritage Party said he would end his
two-week-old hunger strike on Easter Sunday to make sure he had enough
energy to keep up his political work.

"I will complete my modest hunger strike, which was for the sake of
faith, Motherland, peace and the future," Hovannisian told supporters
gathered in a central square of the capital Yerevan.

He called on supporters to hold a rally during Sarksyan's inauguration
ceremony on April 9.

Hovannisian, a U.S.-born former foreign minister of the landlocked
ex-Soviet republic, sent 70 complaints to the electoral commission,
which responded by saying the documents were based neither on facts
nor legal evidence.

International monitors described the poll as an improvement on previous
ones but said it lacked real competition after some of Sarksyan's
rivals decided not to run.

Foreign governments and investors are watching for any sign of
instability in the country which lies in the volatile South Caucasus
region, crossed by pipelines carrying Caspian oil and natural gas
to Europe.

Landlocked Armenia has a tense relationship with neighboring Azerbaijan
over the mountainous enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh, which is inside
Azeri territory but has been controlled by ethnic Armenians since a
war in the 1990s.

(Reporting by Hasmik Lazarian; Writing by Margarita Antidze; Editing
by Alissa de Carbonnel and Andrew Heavens)

From: Baghdasarian