Armenia has registered an assassination attempt on one of its presidential candidates, an incident that may cause delays in the country's upcoming elections.
64 year-old Paruyr Hayrikyan, running for the Union for National Self-Determination Party, has been shot in the capital city of Yerevan, Russia Today chronicles.
While Hayrikyan has been struck by two bullets, none of the wounds is fatal. His shoulder and chest have been injured, according to local reports. The wound he incurred to his chest is being treated as serious.
He was transported to the Saint Gregory the Illuminator hospital where he will undergo surgery. At this point he is conscious, and in stable condition.
Elections are scheduled for February 18, with a campaign starting on January 21. Seven other candidates are part of the presidential race.
Speaker of Parliament Hovik Abrahamyan, visiting the lawmaker alongside Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan and the capital's Chief of Police Vladimir Gasparyan, hinted on the incident impacting elections.
“I do not rule out this possibility. [...] Moreover, our law has such a provision,” Abrahamyan says.
“An attempt on Hayrikyan is a blow to our nationhood. [...] We explicitly condemn the incident and hope the police will solve the crime quickly,” he adds.
Hayrikyan was attacked as he was walking to his parents’ house, in the central part of Yerevan. He has just left his car on Tpagrichneri Street, when he was shot.
RTE describes the candidate as a former dissident in Soviet times, having long fought the system. He was imprisoned for standing against the Soviet regime, faced exile in Armenia and was deported to Ethiopia and the United States.
He already ran for president in 2003 and lost, and is now planning to give it another go, while running for a moderate party.