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Armenia Opposition Chief Ends Hunger Strike, Calls For Protests

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  • Armenia Opposition Chief Ends Hunger Strike, Calls For Protests


    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