YEREVAN (RFE/RL)—Presidential candidate Paruyr Hayrikian announced on Tuesday that he will not seek to delay Armenia’s upcoming presidential election because of an apparent assassination attempt, meaning that it will be held as planned on February 18.
“I have come to only show that I am present. Let every Armenian know that terrorism must not divert the Armenian political life from its natural course,” Hayrikian declared after unexpectedly joining a news conference held by his lawyer, Levon Baghdasarian, and a member of his campaign team, Karo Yeghnukian.
Hayrikian arrived there from a Yerevan hospital where he was taken immediately after being shot and wounded by unknown assailants last Thursday. Escorted by police officers, he returned to the hospital following his brief remarks.
That Hayrikian will not demand that Armenia’s Constitutional Court postpone the vote by two weeks was announced by his representatives at the start of the news conference.
The Armenian constitution allows a postponement if one of the presidential candidates is faced with “insurmountable obstacles” to their election campaign. Hayrikian did not rule out the possibility of lodging a corresponding appeal to the Constitutional Court as recently as on Monday.
In Yeghnukian’s words, while the shooting attack is such an obstacle, the leader of the National Self-Determination Union, a small opposition party, does not want to draw political dividends from it. “It is clear to everyone that this is an insurmountable circumstance, but if Hayrikian did that it would mean exploiting things. He doesn’t want that,” he said.