Armenian president lines up a second term

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Armenian president Serge Sarkisian looks set to be re-­elected for a second term in the first round of the former Soviet nation’s presidential election, exit polls said last night.

The poll of 19,130 voters showed Mr Sarkisian winning 58 per cent of Monday’s ballot, with full preliminary results expected today. The closest of his six rivals, the American-born Raffi Hovanessian, who was post-Soviet Armenia’s first foreign minister, polled 32 per cent.

Mr Sarkisian’s victory had been widely expected. He has overseen a return to economic growth after years of stagnation, although the former Soviet republic still suffers from widespread poverty.

The election campaign lasted only a month, but packed in drama that included the shooting of one candidate and another going on a hunger strike.