YEREVAN, February 1. / ARKA /. The chairman of Armenia’s Central Election Commission (CEC), Tigran Mukuchayn, said today the decision to postpone the February 18 presidential election, is the prerogative of the Constitutional Court. Following the assassination attempt on one of the candidates, Paruyr Hayrikian, parliament speaker Hovik Abrahamian said according to Armenia's constitution, the election could be postponed by two weeks if a candidate is unable to campaign or run.
Paruyr Hayrikyan, the leader of small Self-Determination Union Party, 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.
"Under the law, a presidential candidate is entitled to petition the Constitutional Court to postpone the election because of insuperable obstacles hindering his or her participation in the election. The Court has to consider the statement within four days," Mukuchyan said.
Levon Baghdasarian, a lawyer for Hayrikian, said earlier today that Hayrikian will decide whether to demand such delay. “We will hold a news conference on Monday and address this issue in detail,” Baghdasarian said. “Paruyr Hayrikian will make a decision depending on his health condition.”
Under the Armenian constitution, the vote must be postponed by at least two weeks if one of the presidential candidates is faced with “insurmountable obstacles” to their campaign.
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-