Paruyr Hayrikian, the opposition candidate recovering from a gunshot wound, warned on Thursday that he may reconsider his decision not to seek a postponement of Armenia’s presidential election because of his health condition and “slanderous” attacks from opponents.
Hayrikian, who was wounded in the right shoulder last week, said he has suffered from severe pain in his right hand in the last two days. “My right hand not only stopped functioning but also caused me terrible pain,” he told reporters at Yerevan’s Surp Grigor Lusavorich hospital. “It was so strong last night that I took painkillers but they didn’t help. Doctors, who had thought that I could be discharged yesterday, are now demanding that I don’t leave the hospital for two days.”
“Quite a lot has changed in the last two days and we are no longer able to campaign,” said Hayrikian. “Not only because of my physical condition but also because … my people have to deny that I stage-managed the shooting. Unfortunately this is distracting us and also lowering our ratings.”
Hayrikian added that he will likely ask the Constitutional Court to delay the February 18 election by two weeks “if they continue to hit me with slander and create unequal conditions.” Asked when he will make the final decision, he said, “I still have time, at least two or three days.”
The Armenian constitution allows a two-week election delay if one of the presidential candidates is faced with “insurmountable obstacles” to their election campaign. Hayrikian said on Tuesday that he will not lodge a corresponding appeal to the Constitutional Court because he does not want “terrorism” to disrupt the country’s political life.
Hayrikian was shot and wounded outside his Yerevan home on January 31 in still unclear circumstances. Nobody has been arrested in connection with the shooting strongly condemned by Armenia’s government and main political groups.