YEREVAN, January 14 (RIA Novosti) – Armenia’s Central Election Commission registered in an extraordinary session on Monday eight candidates for the country’s presidential election slated for February 18, the Novosti-Armenia news agency reported.
Among the candidates are current President Serzh Sargsyan, former Prime Minister Hrant Bagratyan, US-born former Foreign Minister Raffi Hovannisian, Soviet-era dissident Paruyr Hayrikyan, and former Foreign Minister of the self-declared Nagorno-Karabakh Republic Arman Melikyan.
The main opposition coalition, the Armenian National Congress, headed by first Armenian President Levon Ter-Petrosyan, declined to nominate a candidate.
Experts have said Sargsyan remains the favorite in the race, especially since two other political heavyweights – Petrosian and businessman and Prosperous Armenia Party leader Gagik Tsarukyan – opted out of the contest.
The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) will monitor the vote.
The election campaign begins on January 21 and will end on February 16. This election marks the sixth presidential poll in Armenia’s post-Soviet history.
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News that Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin would resign in order to run for the mayoral election in September came as quite a shock. Sobyanin’s political potential is fairly dubious, not to mention his approval ratings. He has not finished many of the projects he initiated and the electoral effect from these projects is expected to come a bit later than September 2013. Sobyanin’s opponents were not entirely unprepared for this blitzkrieg.