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Exit Poll Shows Armenian PM Winning Presidential Election

A British-run exit poll shows Armenian Prime Minister Serzh Sarkisyan emerging victorious in Tuesday's presidential election, with 57 percent of the vote. If those numbers hold, Mr. Sarkisyan will avoid a run-off.

The polling agency Populus, working for Armenian television, says Mr. Sarkisyan's closest opponent, opposition leader and former President Levon Ter-Petrosian, appeared to be winning slightly more than 17 percent shortly after polls closed.

There were nine candidates on the ballot.

First official results are expected early Wednesday.

Even before polling stations closed, Mr. Ter-Petrosian was telling reporters in Yerevan of "thousands of voting violations" in today's poll. A Ter-Petrosian spokesman said pro-government activists had assaulted dozens of opposition supporters in various parts of the country.

Incumbent President Robert Kocharian is barred from running for a third term. He has endorsed Mr. Sarkisyan as his successor.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.