YEREVAN, February 8. / ARKA /. Andrias Ghukasyan, one of the eight candidates in the Armenian presidential race, who has been on hunger strike for a nineteenth consecutive day, insisting on his demands for president Serzh Sarkisian’s resignation, agreed to undergo a thorough medical examination in a few days after a conversation today with health minister Derenik Dumanyan.
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.
"He agreed to have a comprehensive examination at a clinic. The fact is that after 20 days of hunger the organism of a human being may be affected by major changes, and we must inform Mr. Ghukasyan of it. He said he would decide the date, the time, and the clinic in which he would like to undergo the examination," the minister said.
"An ambulance with medics will continue around the clock watch near the candidate and, if necessary, if there is a treat to his life, we will think of his hospitalization," he said.
The minister said he receives information about Ghukasyan’s health condition several times a day. At the same time, the minister warned that after a month of hunger strike, the consequences for the organism become irreversible.
"I asked Mr. Ghukasyan to stop the hunger strike, but he made a political decision", Dumanyan said.
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 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-