By David M. Herszenhorn
YEREVAN (New York Times and Armenpress) — President Serge Sargisian easily won re-election to a second five-year term, according to preliminary returns released on Tuesday by the Central Election Commission.
The returns showed Sargisian with about 59 percent of the vote, enough to win the presidency outright and avoid a runoff. The former foreign minister, Raffi Hovanessian, was a distant second with about 37 percent, the returns showed.
Armenians went to the polls on Monday with Sargisian heavily favored to win and maintain stability in a country that has become an increasingly important, if uneasy, United States ally in monitoring Iran’s nuclear ambitions.
A veteran politician, Sargisian, 58, is generally viewed as having presided over modest economic improvements in recent years, even as the country has struggled because of closed borders with Turkey and Azerbaijan, its enemy in a continuing war over the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabagh.