The shooting in Armenia of opposition presidential candidate Paruyr Hayrikian is raising the possibility that the election, scheduled for February 18, could be postponed.
According to preliminary police reports, 63-year-old Hayrikian, a former Soviet dissident and the leader of the tiny National Self-Determination Union, was shot once through the collarbone late January 31 near his house in Yerevan. He was reportedly in stable condition at St. Gregory the Illuminator Hospital. A hospital representative told EurasiaNet.org that the candidate’s vital organs escaped harm by “a miracle.” The motive for the shooting was not immediately clear.
No arrests in connection with the incident had been made as of late February 1, but authorities revealed they had recovered evidence, including a shell casing, from the crime scene. Based on a preliminary ballistics investigation, a police report, , estimates that the assailant shot at Hayrikian twice from close range, as near as 30-to-40 centimeters (about 12 to 16 inches).
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Gayane Abrahamyan is a reporter for ArmeniaNow.com in Yerevan.