(Update 1: updates with polls closing)
Yerevan, Jun 20 (EFE).- Polling stations in Armenia closed at 8:00 pm Sunday after higher-than-expected turnout for the early parliamentary elections spurred by last year’s defeat to Azerbaijan in the latest conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh, an Armenian enclave inside Azerbaijani territory.
A total of 989,972 people, or 38.17 percent of the nearly 2.5 million eligible voters, had cast their ballots by 5:00 pm, according to the Central Electoral Commission.
The highest turnout was recorded in eastern regions bordering Azerbaijan, where some incidents have occurred since the war, as well as in Yerevan.
Armenia’s constitution does not establish a minimum turnout necessary to validate an election.
The Central Electoral Commission is expected to release initial results before midnight Sunday.
Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan called the early elections following months of opposition protests demanding that he resign after his government signed a cease-fire that relinquished lands won by Armenia in earlier conflicts with Azerbaijan.
The final pre-election polls showed former President Robert Kocharian’s Armenia Alliance with 24.1 percent support, just ahead of Pashinyan’s Civil Contract party with 23.8 percent.
Twenty-five parties and political blocs fielded candidates for the 101-seat legislature. EFE