YEREVAN — Paruyr Hayrikian, a presidential candidate wounded in an apparent assassination attempt, petitioned Armenia’s Constitutional Court to postpone the upcoming election on Sunday only to withdraw the demand the following day.
Hayrikian, who is recovering in hospital, formally filed the application Sunday afternoon seeking a delay due to being unable to conduct a full-scale campaign.
The Court was to decide on Monday whether it would accept it for consideration or not.
Hayrikian’s final decision to let the presidential vote go ahead as planned on February 18 was the latest in a series of contradictory moves that baffled the Armenian political class and media.
Under the Armenian constitution, a presidential election has to be postponed by at least two weeks if one of the candidates is faced with “insurmountable obstacles” to their campaign. Hayrikian said on February 5 that he will not invoke this clause. But he said afterwards that that decision was not final.
“I have made a final decision,” Hayrikian told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am). “We are not changing election day. My premise remains the one which I had right at the beginning: we must not allow any scum to affect our democratic processes.”
“Even appealing to the Constitutional Court was very difficult for me because I declared right at the beginning that launching that [postponement] process is tantamount to aiding terrorists,” he claimed. “But later on I had to listen to opinions, take into account the fact that my rights are violated, that I am not campaigning on equal terms. Ultimately I found all that secondary.”
The court action came shortly after President Serzh Sarkisian, who is thought to be against an election delay, again visited Hayrikian in a Yerevan hospital on Sunday.