An unidentified assailant shot at politician and Armenian presidential candidate Paruyr Hayrikyan and wounded him on Thursday just before midnight on a street in Yerevan, the capital city of Armenia. Hayrikyan was transported to hospital and his state is stable. The presidential elections are scheduled for February 18, although Armenian constitution allows to postpone elections for up to 40 days if any candidate is unable to participate in the race for reasons he is not responsible for. The deputy chairman of the parliament Eduard Sharmazanov also said the act was a “provocation against democratic, free and transparent elections”. A parliament speaker Hovik Abrahamyan admitted the election can be postponed.
Following a press-conference on Friday, REGNUM News Agency reported that analyst Sergei Shakariants said the attackers could have wanted to delay the elections. He said that Paruyr Hayrikyan was not expected to win, and merely removing him from the race would not change the essence of the elections; elections were the real target. Sergei Shakariants also said the attackers may want to move the elections closer to March 1 to remind the public of previous troubles on this day in 2008 when the current president, Serzh Sargsyan, was elected.