The election-monitoring arm of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe expressed hope on Friday that the Armenian presidential race will remain “peaceful” after the shooting of an opposition candidate.
Janez Lenarcic, head of the OSCE’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), expressed “grave concern” over the attack on Paruyr Hayrikian.
“This attack is deeply distressing in view of the electoral process already underway, and I urge all stakeholders to refrain from any actions that might further aggravate the situation,” Lenarcic said in a statement. “We also urge the relevant authorities to pursue a robust investigation of this crime and prosecution of the perpetrators.”
Lenarcic added that “all concerned should ensure that the electoral process remains peaceful.”
The ODIHR is due to deploy the largest and most important international mission to monitor the Armenian election slated for February 18. The mission chief, Heidi Tagliavini, and over two dozen election experts and long-term observers began operating in the country three weeks ago. They are to be joined by 250 short-term monitors on election day.