Armenian presidential candidate shot: police

An Armenian presidential candidate was shot and wounded late Thursday by an unknown assailant in the capital Yerevan less than a month before election day, police said.

Paruyr Hayrikyan, head of the Union for National Self-Determination, was attacked in central Yerevan as he was heading home, police spokesman Achot Agaronian told the press agency.

He was taken to hospital after being hit in the upper chest area.

A criminal probe was swiftly launched to find the gunman, police said.

Prime Minister Tigran Sarkisian and other politicians visited the presidential candidate in hospital.

"I spoke with Paruyr Hayrikyan, the doctors say his condition is satisfactory," said Ovik Abraamian, speaker of the Armenian parliament.

"I am sure that whoever committed this crime and the forces behind them will not destabilise the situation," he told the news agency.

The presidential election is due to take place on February 18, with incumbent Serge Sarkissian expected to win.