Feb. 18 - Polls open Armenia's presidential election, with incumbent President Serzh Sarksyan expected to win a new five-year term. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
(ROUGH CUT ONLY - NO REPORTER NARRATION) Armenian voters turned out for presidential elections on Monday (February 18), with Armenian President Serzh Sarksyan likely to win a new five-year term after an election campaign marred by an assassination attempt on one of his rivals and a hunger strike by another. Opinion polls suggest Sarksyan's victory is all but certain. He is on target to win more than 60 percent of the votes in the small, landlocked country in the South Caucasus, with the next of the other six candidates barely in double figures. About 2.5 million of Armenia's officially registered voters are expected to cast ballots in slightly less than 2.000 polling stations across the country in 41 electoral districts. The voters will have to pick out of seven presidential candidates, with only two of them seen as serious political figures contesting a 59-year-old incumbent President Sarksyan: Raffi Hovannisyan, the first foreign minister of independent Armenia and Hrant Bagratyan, a 54-year old politician.