Just as Rafael Correa won his widely expected reelection as president of Ecuador, Armenian president Serzh Sargsyan (Սերժ Սարգսյան) has won reelection for another five-year term.
Exit polls showed Sargsyan with around 58% of the vote to just 32% of the vote for his nearest challenger, Raffi Hovannisian (Րաֆֆի Հովհաննիսյան), an opposition leader and Armenia’s foreign minister from 1991 to 1992 under former president Levon Ter-Petrosyan (Լևոն Տեր-Պետրոսյան).
The race’s most prominent news was the attempted assassination of longshot candidate Paruyr Hayrikyan (Պարոյր Հայրիկեան), a former Soviet dissident, though polls showed that he won no more than 3% in Monday’s vote.
Sargsyan’s reelection was never really in doubt as the campaign closed.
Sargsyan’s party, the Republican Party of Armenia (HHK, Հայաստանի Հանրապետական Կուսակցություն), controls the Armenian National Assembly, and has ruled Armenia since 1998.
Both Ter-Petrosyan and wealthy oligarch Gagik Tsarukian (Գագիկ Ծառուկյան), the leader of the largest Armenian opposition party, Prosperous Armenia (BHK, Բարգավաճ Հայաստան Կուսակցություն) chose not to run in the election, thereby depriving Sargsyan of two potentially dangerous challengers.
Sargsyan has a full plate ahead of him — the Armenian economy is still shaky following a global crisis that sent nearly a million Armenians out of the country, he’ll need to balance Armenia’s good relations with both Europe, the United States and Russia, and he faces two regional challenges over frayed relations with Turkey (and the 100th anniversary of the Armenia genocide in 2015, with emotions running high, won’t likely help matters), and with Azerbaijan, where the breakaway region of disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh continues to rankle relations following a war between Azerbaijan and Armenia that ended in 1994.