Disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region holds elections

MOSCOW (AP) — Nagorno-Karabakh, a region of Azerbaijan controlled by ethnic Armenian forces backed by Armenia, held presidential and parliamentary elections on Tuesday.

The region’s current president, Bako Sahakyan, hasn’t sought re-election, and 14 candidates including several top officials ran to succeed him.

After the polls closed, election officials said nearly 73 percent of the region’s eligible voters cast ballots. Preliminary results are expected Wednesday.

The Nagorno-Karabakh region has been under the control of ethnic Armenian forces supported by Armenia since the end of a six-year separatist war in 1994.

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The mountainous region’s self-declared sovereignty isn’t recognized by any country.

Shooting frequently breaks out across a buffer zone. In 2016, scores were killed in four days of fighting .

The region’s unresolved status contributes to Armenia’s economic problems. Both Azerbaijan and Turkey have closed their borders with Armenia over the conflict, inhibiting trade and leaving Armenia in semi-isolation.

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