YEREVAN, February 11. / ARKA /. Armenia’s first deputy health minister, Hayk Darbinyan, visited today Andrias Ghukasyan, one of the seven candidates in the Armenian presidential race, who has been on hunger strike for more than 20 days, insisting on his demands for president Serzh Sarkisian’s resignation. The health ministry said in a statement that Hayk Darbinyan urged Ghukasyan to end the hunger strike.
Andrias Ghukasyan is a political commentator running a private radio station in Yerevan. He has been camped outside the National Academy of Sciences building in downtown Yerevan since the official start of campaigning for the February 18 presidential election.
The health ministry said during a long conversation with the candidate Darbinyan thoroughly explained to him the aftereffects and complications of a lasting hunger strike. He told Ghukasyan that his health may deteriorate dramatically at any moment, saying also that only comprehensive laboratory studies will enable to have a complete picture of his health condition.
On February 6 Ghukasyan health deteriorated, his blood pressure dropped dramatically. Ghukasyan, who is regarded as a fringe contender, said he is determined to continue the protest. He claims that president Sargsyan must be disqualified as a candidate because his Republican Party of Armenia has a long history of vote rigging.
The February 18 election will be contested by seven 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. -0-