By empty (2/20/2003 issue of the CACI Analyst)In a joint statement released on 20 February before the runoff was announced, election monitors from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the Council of Europe said that the 19 February Armenian presidential election \"fell short of international standards in several key respects,\" RFE/RL\'s Armenian Service reported. The statement said that while the voting process was in general \"well-conducted,\" there were instances of ballot-box stuffing and \"serious irregularities\" during the vote count. OSCE Observation Mission head Peter Eicher noted a \"striking disparity\" between voter turnout and official results at some polling stations but declined to comment on whether such irregularities could affect the outcome of the vote.
By empty (2/20/2003 issue of the CACI Analyst)Armenian President Robert Kocharyan has narrowly failed to garner enough votes to win Wednesday\'s election outright, election officials have announced. Voting in the presidential poll will have to go to a second round after Mr Kocharyan apparently received 49.8% of ballots.
By empty (2/19/2003 issue of the CACI Analyst)Turkmenistan celebrated the birthday Wednesday of President-for-Life Saparmurat Niyazov with a parade including the country\'s internationally renowned horses, while international human rights groups called for a day of protest. In the Turkmen capital Ashgabat, Niyazov — who turned 63 — presided over a parade of soldiers and prominent displays of the country\'s green flag striped with its five traditional clan designs. His birthday has been officially celebrated as Flag Day since 1995 and is a public holiday in this Central Asian nation.
By empty (2/25/2003 issue of the CACI Analyst)Leaders of 20 Chechen civic and human rights organizations issued a statement on 24 February condemning the referendum scheduled for 23 March on a new Chechen draft constitution and election laws, chechenpress.org reported on 25 February. They pointed to numerous alleged violations of Russian law during the preparations for the plebiscite, including the compilation of faked voter lists and the falsification of lists of residents of Chechen villagers who allegedly support the proposed referendum.
The Central Asia-Caucasus Analyst is a biweekly publication of the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute & Silk Road Studies Program, a Joint Transatlantic Research and Policy Center affiliated with the American Foreign Policy Council, Washington DC., and the Institute for Security and Development Policy, Stockholm. For 15 years, the Analyst has brought cutting edge analysis of the region geared toward a practitioner audience.