Polls opened across Artsakh (Nagorno Karabakh) at 8:00am sharp as residents are electing a new President and members of Parliament.
As many as 14 candidates – among them Foreign Minister Masis Mayilyan, presidential spokesman Davit Babayan, ex-First Minister Arayik Harutyunyan, former lawmaker Vitaly Balasanyan – are running for President in the country with a population of roughly 150,000 people.
Outgoing President Bako Sahakyan, who has been at the helm of the country since 2007, is not seeking a fourth term.
Representatives of 12 parties and blocs, meanwhile, are running for seats in the National Assembly. In total, 103,506 people are eligible to vote in Artsakh, according to the Central Election Committee. In a constitutional referendum held in 2017, citizens of Artsakh voted in favor of transforming the country into a presidential system. Elected for a five-year term, the President has significant power, controlling the executive branch, representing the country abroad and appointing the ministers. The president is also the commander-in-chief of the Artsakh Defense Army.
Lawmakers, too, are elected for a five-year term through a proportional electoral system. The National Assembly is composed of between 27 and 33 MPs.