Vote 2013: Presidential candidates continue campaign amid expectations of Hayrikyan decision

After a pause in the presidential campaign brought on by an assassination attempt against one of the candidates, the contenders in the eight-man race resumed their full-scale electioneering on Monday.

Leader of the National Self-Determination Union Paruyr Hayrikyan, who was shot at and wounded by a yet unidentified gunman on January 31, was expected to announce his decision today on whether he’d ask the Constitutional Court to delay the ballot by two weeks. The opposition figure who is currently recovering after a surgery in a Yerevan hospital indicated on Monday, however, that he would not be seeking the appointment of new elections.

The subject of the attempt on Hayrikyan’s life and its implications for the elections and local politics in general was not avoided by the candidates campaigning on Monday.

Incumbent president and leader of the Republican Party Serzh Sargsyan, who traveled to the central province of Ararat, before presenting his election program to local voters, addressed the attack on Hayrikyan, saying that it was meant to disrupt “the normal course of the election”.

“We all must understand it and work harder to continue our uninterrupted efforts, because the purpose of the crime was to disrupt the normal course of the election. But I am confident that together with you, along with our team, together with our fellow citizens we will not let it happen,” underscored Sargsyan, addressing supporters in the town of Masis.

The head of state added that in the current situation “only and only” the Constitution of the Republic of Armenia must be applied. He assured the citizens that all processes will be “in line with the letter and spirit” of the Constitution.

Heritage party Raffi Hovannisian, who is running for president as a self-nominated candidate, on Monday visited the village of Kasakh in the Aragatsotn province as part of his campaign. In the village he met with the local mayor and residents. Addressing the latest developments in the election process connected with the assassination attempt against Hayrikyan, Hovannisian stressed that delaying the election for two weeks is the candidate’s constitutional right. “Let it be in accordance with the law and let there be fair elections whenever they are held.”

Another presidential candidate, Aram Harutyunyan, who still at the beginning of the campaign declared that he was going to withdraw his candidacy 10 days before the election day and that before that he would be holding his campaign exclusively in the form of interviews and press conferences, on Monday warned against jumping to conclusions regarding the possible masterminds behind the attack.

Earlier, Hayrikyan himself said he suspected that the assassination attempt against him had been organized by unspecified ‘Russian imperialist forces’.

“Making such irresponsible statements is a political gambling,” stressed candidate Harutyunyan, adding at the same time that Hayrikyan should be seeking new elections in the wake of the attack.