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Doctors in Armenia have removed a bullet from the shoulder of a presidential candidate, who was shot close to his home on Thursday night.

Paruyr Hayrikyan, an outsider in the February 18 election, was visited in hospital by incumbent Serzh Sarksyan, who is expected to win a second term.

The poll could be delayed for two weeks because of the assassination attempt. The motive for the attack is not clear but Hayrikyan has blamed foreign secret agents.

The former Soviet republic is keen to maintain stability as it seeks to boost its economy after the global financial crisis.

Violence marred the last presidential election in 2008 and left nearly a dozen people dead.

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