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Armenian presidential race may be put off over assassination attempt

February 01, 2013, 5:46 UTC+3

If obstacles recognized as insurmountable remain, the voting will take place on the 40th day after a two week period expires

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YEREVAN, February 1 (Itar-Tass) – The health of Armenian presidential candidate Paruir Airikyan, who was wounded in an assassination attempt late on Thursday, will decide whether the presidential election will take place on February 18 as scheduled or will be postponed.

In compliance with Armenia’s Constitution, if a presidential candidate faces insurmountable obstacles, the presidential election will be postponed for a two week period. If obstacles recognized as insurmountable remain, the voting will take place on the 40th day after a two week period expires.

In case of death of a presidential candidate before the voting day, the new election is announced and the voting is held on the 40th day after announcement of election.

“Everything depends on the health of Paruir Airikyan,” parliamentary speaker Ovik Abramyan said. “He (Airikyan) should decide. If he decides to participate and continue the election campaign, the election will take place. If he says he cannot continue the campaign, the election will be postponed.”

“I think there is no such need (in postponing the election),” he said.

“This assassination attempt is an attack on authorities and on people,” Abramyan said. “This is a deliberate step targeted at discrediting the authorities and destabilizing the situation.”

This assassination attempt “is first of all, targeted against the authorities and nationhood,” Armenian Prime Minister Tigran Sarkisyan said.

The chairman of the central election commission, Tigran Mukuchan, called “incorrect comments on possible postponement of the election.” “It is wrong to make any comments until the state of the person’s health becomes clear.”

Airikyan was shot from the back when he got out of his car in the yard of the house in the centre of Yerevan, where he lived.

He has a blunt wound in the right upper part of his chest. He remains in an intensive care ward and will be operated on Friday morning, Health Minister Derenik Dumanyan said.

An investigation is underway.

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