Armenian elections in doubt after attack

Armenian elections in doubt after attack

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Armenian elections in doubt after attack

AP photo

The Armenian presidential election is on the verge of postponement after a presidential candidate was wounded by unknown gunmen in the capital of Yerevan on Jan. 31.

Paruyr Hayrikyan, whose life was not in danger after the shooting, decided on Feb. 1 to run in elections. According to Armenia’s Constitution, the election could be postponed by two weeks if a candidate is unable to campaign or run. In the event of a candidate’s death, a new election is called, to be held within 40 days.

“This is an attack against the peace and prosperity of Armenia,” David Shahnazarian, the Central Office Representative for the Armenian National Congress (ANC) and the former president of the National Security Council in Armenia, told the Hürriyet Daily News.

“It is obvious that this attempt has political ties and aims to manipulate the country’s internal affairs,” he said.

“Hayrikyan is not in a life-threatening situation. The Constitution approves of postponing elections in such cases but no decision has been taken yet. This will be decided regarding Hayrikyan’s health condition,” he said.

Hayrikyan, 63, is the leader of a moderate opposition party, the National Self-determination Union, and ran for president in 2003.

The attack raises fears of a return to the violence that marred the 2008 presidential elections. Violent clashes broke out between opposition protesters and police that year, killing 10 people.