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Armenian President Accuses Opposition of Trying to Seize Power


Armenian President Robert Kocharian has accused the opposition of attempting to seize power as protests against alleged fraud in the presidential election continue for a fourth day.

Mr. Kocharian on Saturday called a special meeting of army and police officials to discuss the situation. He said authorities will take tough and resolute actions to maintain stability and constitutional order in the country.

Some 35,000 people gathered in Armenia's capital, Yerevan, on Saturday, protesting the official results of the Tuesday election, which gave an outright victory to Prime Minister Serzh Sarkisyan.

The opposition claims the vote was rigged and demands a recount.

The protests have been peaceful so far.

Official results gave Prime Minister Sarkisyan nearly 53 percent of the vote, and just over 21 percent to former President Levon Ter-Petrosian.

International monitors found that the election results were mostly in line with standards for democratic elections. But they identified significant problems with electoral procedures.

The U.S. State Department has called on Armenia to conduct a comprehensive and transparent recount of the votes that are questionable.

Mr. Ter-Petrosian says a number of high-ranking officials have joined the opposition. Deputy Prosecutor-General Gagik Jhangirian was dismissed after declaring his support for the opposition on Friday.

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