Ottawa – On Thursday, July 19, 2012, the citizens of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic will be going to the polls to exercise their voting rights to elect its next president. Nagorno-Karabakh holds direct and regular presidential elections whereby all eligible voters elect a president for a five year term. The current presidential election will be the fifth since the December 10, 1991 referendum on the independence and establishment of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic. Past elections have seen voter participation exceed the 70% threshold — a testament to the Republic’s success in creating a country based on democratic principles and pluralism, the cornerstone of which is the voting franchise.
“This presidential election again demonstrates that the people of Nagorno-Karabakh, having exercised their internationally-recognized right to self-determination in 1991, are ready to join the community of independent states as an equal member,” stated Dr. Girair Basmadjian, president of the Armenian National Committee of Canada in reference to the current and previous presidential elections, which have reflected the democratic will of the people of Nagorno-Karabakh to choose their own leaders and to be free of Azerbaijan’s oppressive anti-Armenian regime.
The current presidential election has three candidates — incumbent President Bako Sahakyan, Deputy Minister of Defence Vitaly Balasanyan, and former rector of Stepanakert University Arkady Soghomonyan. It is expected that each of the candidates will receive a significant share of the popular vote, reflecting the fact that Nagorno-Karabakh is a mature democracy where the electorateencompasses people with diverse views about the development and future of the country.
Elections in Nagorno-Karabakh are conducted under the auspices of the Central Election Commission and monitored by international observers. Despite inappropriate pressure from Azerbaijani authorities, Liberal Party of Canada Multiculturalism Critic and Member of Parliament for Scarborough-Agincourt the Hon. Jim Karygiannis will act as an independent observer of the presidential election.
The 2007 presidential elections were pronounced to be free and fair by various independent observers including the Public International Law and Policy Group made up of observers from the United States of America.
The ANCC is the largest and the most influential Canadian-Armenian grassroots political organization. Working in coordination with a network of offices, chapters, and supporters throughout Canada and affiliated organizations around the world, the ANCC actively advances the concerns of the Canadian-Armenian community on a broad range of issues.