YEREVAN, February 1. / ARKA /. A delegation of the Russian Central Election Commission (CEC) will not cancel a visit to Armenia to observe the presidential election, despite the assassination attempt on one of the candidates, a CEC member Sergey Danilenko told RIA Novosti news agency, who will lead Russian poll watchers.
The presidential election is scheduled for February 18. Latest opinion surveys had shown incumbent president Serge Sargsyan likely to win re-election. The wounded Hyrikian who ran in previous elections had only garnered a few percent.
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. 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.
“To date, the presidential election in Armenia has not been canceled and a delegation of the Central Election Commission is preparing for traveling to Armenia,” Danilenko was quoted as saying, noting that the CEC will have to adjust its plans, if the Armenian authorities decide to postpone the election. The Russian CEC delegation was to arrive in Armenia three days before the vote.
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-