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Armenian Candidate On Hunger Strike Needs Hospitalization


Well-wishers visit Andrias Ghukasian in front of the Academy of Sciences building in central Yerevan on January 23.
YEREVAN -- Doctors say an Armenian presidential candidate who has been on a hunger strike for 17 days needs hospitalization, even as another candidate joins him in his protest.

Physicians examined Andrias Ghukasian on February 6, but he refused to go to a hospital.

Doctors decided to keep an ambulance close to where he is staging his protest in downtown Yerevan.

Ghukasian, who managed the the Yerevan-based private radio station Radio Hay, has been sitting in front of the National Academy of Sciences since January 21.

Andrias Ghukasian
Andrias Ghukasian
He is demanding the Central Election Commission repeal the electoral registration of incumbent President Serzh Sarkisian. He also wants international observers to boycott the upcoming presidential election.

Ghukasian has a sign that says "Stop fake elections."

The Central Election Commission has rejected his demands.

Meanwhile, another candidate, National Concord party leader Aram Harutiunian, told journalists on February 6 he will stage a one-day hunger strike in front of the Central Election Commission building on February 7 before he officially withdraws his candidacy.

Harutiunian says he wants other candidates to quit the poll.

Ghukasian is one of eight candidates in the February 18 election, which Sarkisian is expected to win.

He's calling on other candidates to quit the race in order to leave the incumbent without a challenger and make the poll illegitimate.

With reporting by Interfax