The Constitutional Reform Process Is Fenced from the Society
The constitutional reforms in Armenia – a process which will turn Armenia into a parliamentary republic – are absolutely fenced from the society. The society does not have faith in the process and in its implementers. The amended constitution is hugely likely to remain a dead letter, political analysts and rights defenders believe.

The model is changed, they believe, only to help the current authorities stand for next terms. “And, as a result, the parliamentary model of governance will lose its repute and value,” said Avetik Ishkhanyan.  

The Media Center held a discussion on the necessity of constitutional reforms in Armenia. The speakers included: Avetik Ishkhanyan, Chairman at Helsinki Committee of Armenia; Ruben Sargsyan, Head of APR Group; Hovhannes Galstyan, expert at the Institute of Public Policy, Analysis and Dialogue; and Gevorg Manukyan, Head of the Armenian Constitutional Right-Protective Centre.

The first constitution was adopted in 1995 in an atmosphere of public and political denial, Ishkhanyan said. “The parliamentary elections were underway at that time. And the referendum on the constitution was parallelly held. Armenia failed to pass the exam of becoming a legal state,” Ishkhanyan said. The transit from one model to another must stem from the public demand and under the opposition’s pressure but we have neither the first nor the second, Ishkhanyan believes.

Hovhannes Galstyan shared his insights on the reforms which – he believes – are planned to facilitate the longevity of the current authorities.

“The Head of the National Assembly will become the key player given the reforms are adopted. For the Constitution to have a force it is necessary to involve the society, coupled with key political actors in the process,” he said.

The Constitution does not need cosmetic renovation, Gevorg Manukyan believes. “The current Constitution comes with plenty of ups and downs from a perspective of separation of power branches and balance. We must use the chance to the fullest. It is a chance to have a new descent constitution,” Manukyan said.

The amended Constitution, Ruben Sargsyan said, is likely to fail because the survey shows the society has no faith in the process. “The society does not have faith in the process and in the implementers. Besides, they don’t trust the election process (referendum). Thus, there is a risk that the new Constitution will have no force as the previous ones did,” Sargsyan said.

Arshaluys Mghdesyan, Editor-Coordinator

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