Presidential Candidate Paruir Airikian was shot in the chest by an unknown gunman in the Armenian capital Yerevan just before midnight on Thursday.
Mr Airikian, a long shot candidate in upcoming Presidential elections, is said to be in a stable condition in hospital today. Yerevan Clinical Hospital’s chief doctor has confirmed that Airikian is being treated their for a single gunshot wound to the chest. Police are still searching for the attackers, and the speaker of Parliament has suggested that the election could be delayed.
Deputy speaker of Parliament Eduard Sharmazanov described the attack as a “provocation against democratic, free and transparent elections.”
Although there is still little indication as to the motives behind the attack, parliamentary speaker Ovik Abramian spoke to press during a visit the the hospital where Airikian is being treated, saying that the shooting could be an attempt to thwart the election. He also added that the vote, which is due to take place on February 18th, could be postponed if Airikian’s condition were to prevent him from taking part in the race.
According to Armenia’s constitution, the vote must be postponed by two weeks if any of the candidates is unable to participate due to circumstances which are beyond their control. A further 40 day delay is possible after that.