A candidate in Armenia's presidential elections, Paruyr Hayrikyan, shot and wounded in an assassination attempt, feels good and is determined to continue the race. The question remains: Will the elections be delayed? As the candidate told PanARMENIAN.Net, he’ll either apply to the Constitutional Court with a request to delay the elections for 2 weeks, or try and collect his strength to continue with the campaign. “The poll day of February 18 is important to me for many reasons,” he said.
Mr Hayrikyan, how do you feel? When do you think you’ll be fully recovered?
I feel good, on the whole. I am recovering. Last night I tried to get out of bed. I hate being sick, and thus losing control of the situation. Having set democracy as a priority I can’t but feel upset to become a reason for even a minor delay in polls.
The most burning issue of today is whether you’ll delay the polls. What did you decide?
I thought about it. As I said in a conversation with the head of the Constitutional Court, PM, ex-PM and parliament speaker, who were visiting me, new polls should be ruled out no matter how bad I feel.
I see the situation as thus: someone meant to eliminate one of the presidential hopefuls, to cause a nomination of new candidates, and restart the whole election process. Frankly speaking, I’d like for polls to be held in warmer weather. Were the polls delayed for 40 days it would be warmer and easier to communicate with the voters. However, I won’t be postponing polls for 40 days, and on Monday, I’ll give a final response for a 2-week delay. I’ll either apply to the Constitutional Court with a delay request, or try and collect my strength to continue with the campaign. February 18 is an important day for many reasons. On February 18, 1921 Yerevan was liberated from Bolsheviks; Artsakh liberation started from February 18 meeting in Garni.
Mr Hayrikyan, could you share your ideas on the shooting. What do you think has actually happened and who’s behind it?
I’m starting to recall some details of the incident, and having made some conclusions, I have become confident that the murderer wasn’t an Armenian. He didn’t say a word. And he was certain he’ll kill me, as he hadn’t covered his face. Though the incident happened at night there was enough light for me to be able to recognize him out of 10 people, but not out of 100 probably. I don’t want to get ahead of myself. There’s a lot of evidence and I hope it will put the investigation on the right track.
Some believe, that the attempt on your life could throw a shadow on the process and result of the polls. What do you think about it?
To me, stability is a top value. Human rights, democracy and security are the highest priorities for me. Sometimes, stability is undermined deliberately, to help the perpetrators gain power. Some forces who’ve orchestrated the incident are concerned. But no one will manage to unleash chaos in Armenia, at least, not through harming me. I strive to promote development of the highest level of democracy in Armenia and will allow no one to present Armenia as a country of terror. I’ll do my best to prove that what happened to me was only a crime that could be committed in any country of the world, rather than a reflection of Armenia’s reality.