YEREVAN — Paruyr Hayrikian a candidate in the current campaign for the presidency of Armenia was shot in unclear circumstances late Thursday evening in Tpagrichner street, downtown Yerevan. The wound was not fatal and it is reported that he was shot in the shoulder.
Doctors at Yerevan’s Surp Grigor Lusavorich hospital said a gunshot wound sustained by him is not life-threatening. “He suffered a gunshot injury to the right side of his rib cage,” said Gagik Manukian, a deputy director of the hospital. “It’s a skin injury and his lungs were not damaged. The patient’s condition is of medium gravity and he remains conscious.”
“There is no need for surgery for now,” added Manukian.
The shooting occurred at the entrance to an apartment block in the city center where Hayrikian lives with his family. According to his relatives, the veteran politician was returning home from the offices of his National Self-Determination Union (AIM) party. They said he had never heard of any death or violence threats addressed to Hayrikian.
The Armenian police chief, Vladimir Gasparian said that an unknown gunman apparently fired two gunshots and one of them hit Hayrikian in the shoulder. He said the police will conduct a “meticulous” investigation to identify the shooter and his motives.
“Doctors assured me that his life is not in danger,” Gasparian told journalists in the hospital. “Thank God, I personally spoke to Hayrikian.”
A number of other politicians and senior government officials also visited Hayrikian at the hospital overnight. Among them were Prime Minister Tigran Sarkisian, parliament speaker Hovik Abrahamian as well as two major opposition presidential candidates, Raffi Hovannisian and Hrant Bagratian. Both Sarkisian and Abrahamian condemned the shooting as a blow to the Armenian government.
“This crime is directed against our people and our state,” Abrahamian told reporters. “It’s a political crime and everything must be done to solve it.”
Representatives of the Hayrikian campaign were also angered by what they described as an assassination attempt connected with Hayrikian’s participation in the presidential campaign.
The shooting called into question the planned conduct of the forthcoming ballot in which President Serzh Sarkisian is seeking a second term in office. Under the Armenian constitution, a presidential election must be postponed by at least two weeks if one of the candidates faces “insurmountable obstacles.”