Hovhannes Galstyan, expert at the Institute of Public Policy, Analysis and Dialogue; Seyran Martirosyan, Head of the Shirak Region Affiliate of the Sakharov Human Rights Protection Office; Gagik Hambaryan, political analyst, and civil society representatives shared their
thoughts on the proposed constitutional changes. Seyran Martirosyan said, generally, the proposed constitutional changes are likely to aim at the current government’s continuing in power for several terms through the best possible preconditions.‘There are no public discussions; there is an imitation of public discussions.
In Gyumri reigns indifference towards all this process since this constitution doesn’t offer any solution to the issues people in Gyumri have to deal with. We can see that even the potential of the present constitution is not fully used to make Armenia a more social, more legal, more democratic and autocratic country,’ added Martirosyan. Hovhannes Galstyan believes the Commission on Constitutional Reforms worked little with the public to raise public awareness about that important document and unlash their reasons for suggesting changes.
‘The same commission does not include representatives from the opposition groups and NGOs. That makes the process more doubtful, close and not transparent. First, no broad public events were organized to discuss the concept of constitutional amendments,’ said Galstyan.
The analyst shared thoughts on the article for the electoral mechanism the new project of constitutional changes fixes. ‘The second electoral round is dangerous for a newly established parliamentary republic as democratic processes develop when there are counterbalances. But when one political power holds the majority in the government, this stability is more a standstill rather than sustainability of democracy,’ pointed out Galstyan. His second concern refers to the Electoral Code.
‘The Venice Commission expressed concern that the electoral system must be extracted from the constitution and provided by the electoral code. In our case it is rather dangerous. Actually, after the referendum ‘Electoral Code’ can be developed in such a way that a voter going to the referendum will have even no idea about it,’ said Galstyan. Gagik Hambaryan said the parliamentary republic is the most preferable form of governance in all democratic countries.
‘It is very good our authorities strive for it but the problem here is the following. Armenia both in its socio-economic level of development and party building system is on a rather low level.
And despite having these problems turning the country into a parliamentary republic, I think, is an anachronism, as usually parliamentary states are in rather good socio-economic conditions, as Italy, Spain and other countries,’ added Hambaryan.
Lilit Arakelyan, Editor-Coordinator
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