(This post was updated at 5:32am EST, February 11.)
Wounded Armenian presidential candidate Paruyr Hayrikian has changed his mind, yet again, about asking for a delay in Armenia's February 18 presidential vote. After personally filing a request on February 10 with Armenia's Constitutional Court to postpone the vote by two weeks, he about-faced on February 11, when the Court was expected to discuss the appeal, and withdrew his petition.
Hayrikian's campaign had earlier indicated that, if it managed to make a deal for a last-minute alliance with two other opposition candidates (Heritage Party's Raffi Hovhanissian and Liberty Party's Grant Bagratian) about a united candidate, it could rescind its request for a delayed election.
Bagratian, who has questioned Hayrikian's opposition to the government, had responded that, if such a deal is made, then Hayrikian himself would first need to withdraw his candidacy, PanArmenian.net reported. The Heritage Party stated that the proposal would need to be discussed.
Whether or not such a deal has now come about was not immediately clear. Reasons for the change of mind -- by our count, the third in the 11 days since he was shot in a supposed assassination attempt on January 31 -- remain murky.
In comments to PanArmenian.net, Hayrikian touched on an earlier theme to explain his reasoning -- the belief that a postponed vote could help Armenia's "enemies."
"The important thing is not to allow that the enemies of our country could influence the [election] processes in the country," he told the news service.
Why that concern was apparently less important yesterday was also not clear, although Hayrikian indicated that he had filed a petition then since it was his last chance to do so before the vote.
The Constitutional Court would have had four days to make a ruling, RFE/RL reported; a timeline that could have kept Armenia hanging up until nearly the very eve of the vote. Hayrikian earlier had cited poor health following the attack to justify his request, although his ability to keep on politicking appears to be in robust shape.
Initially viewed as a political snoozer, the election -- or, at least, its date -- became a matter of intense speculation after the attack on Hayrikian, which was classified as an assassination attempt.
(Two men on February 7 were arrested and confessed to orchestrating the shooting, but their supposed motive is not clear.)
Even with Hayrikian's request for a delay now gone, don't look for that speculation to end anytime soon...