Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan is poised for victory in elections next week after rivals withdrew from a campaign that’s been dominated by one candidate’s attempted assassination and another’s hunger strike. Sargsyan, 59, has 69 percent support before the Feb. 18 vote, compared with 11 percent for his nearest challenger, Raffi Hovhannisyan, a former foreign minister, according to a Gallup poll published Feb. 9. Paruyr Hayrikyan, a former dissident who was shot and wounded in a Jan. 31 incident, has 5 percent backing, while Andrias Ghukasyan, who hasn’t eaten in 26 days and calls the ballot “fake,” has 1 percent, the survey showed.
An Armenian presidential candidate who was shot last month cancelled an application to postpone next week’s election, a Constitutional Court spokesman said on Monday, paving the way for the vote to be held as scheduled. Paruyr Hayrikyan, an outsider in the race which is widely expected to see current President Serzh Sarksyan win a new five-year term, was shot in the shoulder on January 31 near his home in the capital Yerevan. Hayrikyan, who had initially said he would not delay the vote, asked the Constitutional Court for a two-week postponement of the February 18 poll, raising concerns over instability in the former Soviet republic of 3.2 million.
An Armenian presidential candidate who was shot has appealed for this month’s election to be delayed to allow him more time to campaign, raising concerns over instability in the former Soviet republic. Paruyr Hayrikyan, who was shown on television looking pale and bedridden with his arm in a cast, had initially said he would not seek a postponement. He changed his mind just few hours before a deadline to apply to the Constitutional Court to delay the February 18 vote after doctors advised him to remain in hospital. “We’ve applied the Constitutional Court with a request to postpone the election for two weeks due to Paruyr Hayrikyan’s health problems and the fact that he can’t campaign,” Vrezh Zatikyan, the candidate’s aide, told Reuters.
Armenia: Wounded presidential candidate has health setback, still mulling election delay | ArmeniaNow.com
An opposition presidential candidate recovering after suffering a gunshot wound in what was apparently an attempted assassination last week says he has been on painkillers since yesterday after his health condition deteriorated – a factor that potentially puts the February 18 election at risk again. Paruyr Hayrikyan, a Soviet-era dissident who currently heads a moderate opposition party, National Self-Determination Union, was hospitalized shortly after being attacked by a yet unidentified gunman on January 31. He subsequently refused to use the opportunity granted by the Armenian Constitution to ask the highest court for a two-week postponement of the ballot due to an “insurmountable obstacle” to his campaign, saying that while it would be a legitimate demand, he did not want to undermine the democratic electoral process.
Armenia: Day 17 of Armenia’s presidential campaign brings concerns about hunger-striking candidate’s health | ArmeniaNow.com
With one of the candidates in the current presidential race in Armenia still recovering in hospital after surviving an assassination attempt, another one refuses to be hospitalized after doctors registered some deterioration of his health condition on Wednesday. Andrias Ghukasyan, a 42-year-old director of Radio Hay, has been camped outside the National Academy of Sciences building in central Yerevan since the start of the campaign on January 21, refusing to take food and demanding that incumbent President Serzh Sargsyan be disqualified from the race and international observers discontinue their mission and leave Armenia. Responding to an emergency call on Wednesday, ambulance service doctors examined Ghukasyan, registering a drop in his blood pressure. The candidate, however, refused to go to hospital and said he was determined to continue his hunger strike until February 18 – Election Day.
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.
An Armenian presidential candidate from the Union for National Self-Determination party has been shot and wounded in the center of Yerevan, the country’s capital. The attempt on Paruyr Hayrikyan’s life may delay the election. Following the incident, the 64 year-old Hayrikyan was rushed to the Saint Gregory the Illuminator medical center with two gunshot wounds, in the shoulder and in the chest. The chest wound is considered serious, but not immediately life-threatening, medics said. Hayrikyan is conscious but has not yet been operated on. A number of high-profile figures visited the politician in his ward, including Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan, Yerevan Police Chief Vladimir Gasparyan and Speaker of Parliament Hovik Abrahamyan. Abrahamyan told the press that the presidential elections may be delayed because of the attempted assassination.