YEREVAN, February 1. / ARKA /. Armenian Police said they are ready to ensure the safety of all eight presidential candidates and called on them to take advantage of this opportunity. In a press release it said it may provide them with bodyguards.
"The Police of Armenia express their deep regret in connection with the armed attack on Armenian presidential candidate Paruyr Hayrikian and will take all necessary measures to prevent and detect crimes," the press release said.
Paruyr Hayrikyan was shot in the shoulder close to his home in the capital Yerevan on Thursday night. Doctors removed the bullet on Friday and said his life was not in danger.
The authorities have launched in inquiry into the case under Article 34-305 of the Criminal Code of Armenia (attempted murder of state, political or public figure to stop his/her activities). A joint investigation group was set up including police and National Security Service officers.
The February 18 election will be contested by eight candidates - the incumbent president Serzh Sargsyan, former prime minister Hrant Bagratian, ex-foreign minister Raffi Hovannisian, a Soviet time dissident Paruyr Hayrikyan, former foreign minister of Karabakh Arman Melikyan, a political analyst Andrias Ghukasyan, a businessman Vartan Sedrakian and Aram Harutyunyan, leader of a small National Unity party. -0-