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Wounded Armenian Presidential Contender to Request Delay of Vote

The Armenian presidential candidate wounded in a shooting will consider applying to the Constitutional Court to postpone the election scheduled for Feb. 18 after his condition worsened.

Paruyr Hayrikyan, who had bullet fragments removed from his right shoulder after the Jan. 31 attack, will file for delay on Feb. 10 unless he can leave the hospital and continue campaigning, Karo Eghnukyan, his campaign spokesman, said today by phone. Under Armenia’s constitution, Hayrikyan has the right to request a two-week delay.

“He can’t use his right hand and is taking painkillers,” Eghnukyan said. Earlier this week Hayrikyan’s lawyer, Levon Baghdasaryan, had said he was well enough to continue the campaign.

Two people were arrested yesterday on suspicion of attempted murder, the National Security Service said.

Hayrikyan, 63, has been one of eight candidates running for the presidency in the sixth election since the former Soviet republic’s independence in 1991. He had a 4 percent backing, according to a Gallup International Association poll of 1,020 people last week with a margin of error of 3.1 percentage points. President Serzh Sargsyan is favored to win the vote with 66 percent support.

The leader of the National Consent party, Aram Harutyunyan, asked the Central Electoral Commission to withdraw his candidacy after a one-day hunger strike in front of the commission’s building, the CEC said today. Harutyunyan called on the other candidates to quit the race, leaving incumbent Sargsyan as the only contender.

Andrias Ghukasyan, another of the candidates, is continuing an 18-day hunger strike in protest of the “fake elections.” Health Minister Derenik Dumanyan visited him today, asking him to stop and undergo a full medical examination, the minister’s spokeswoman, Anahit Hayatyan, said by phone.

“I will announce whether I will undergo the examination today or tomorrow but for now I am continuing the hunger strike,” Ghukasyan said by phone.

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