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People cast their ballots in Stepanakert on July 19, 2012. — Photo by AFP

STEPANAKERT, Azerbaijan: Azerbaijan's breakaway Nagorny-Karabakh region re-elected incumbent leader Bako Sahakyan for a second presidential term, the central elections commission said on Friday.

Sahakyan received 66.7 per cent of votes and his main rival, retired army general Vitaliy Balasanian, 32.5 per cent, according to the preliminary results published on the central election commission's website.

Turnout was 73.4 per cent in Thursday's vote, it added.

Nagorny-Karabakh, which is not recognised by any country in the world, was claimed by ethnic Armenians backed by Yerevan in a horrific war after the collapse of the Soviet Union that claimed some 30,000 lives.