The discussions on the constitutional changes, Zara Hovhannisyan said, are more a matter of form rather than of contents. “Actually, those can hardly be called changes to the current constitution because over 200 clauses have been changed, and now we have a new constitution project. And the discussions are held in an “elite format” but none of the nine members of the commission on constitutional changes takes part in these discussions,” Zara Hovhannisyan said, “All the nine members of the commission are men, and these men have developed a new constitution to decide how the other 51 percent of the population should live and act.”
President Sargsyan has signed a decree setting December 6 as the date for the country’s referendum to change the constitution in order to establish a parliamentary republic. The new draft Constitution of Armenia envisages the transition to the parliamentary system. The reform opponents maintain that the proposed changes to the Armenian constitution aim to enable Sargsyan to indefinitely stay in power in a different capacity after the end of his second and final presidential term in 2018.
Armineh Arakelyan, Head of the Institute for Democracy and Human Rights, believes the changes are not derived from people’s demand. The process aims to achieve a concentration of resources in the hands of several chosen people. “We go back to the oligarchic system where the minority will decide for the majority,” said Armineh Arakelyan.
National Assembly expert, economist Suren Parsyan from the ARF-Dashnaktsutyun speaks for the constitutional changes since the parliamentary system creates more beneficial conditions for the further development of the party system. “The provisions fixed in the new project protect human rights in a truly better way – more well-worked out mechanisms for providing people with housing, independent judicial system, with the Supreme Council of Judges being appointed by the Parliament and general board of judges,” Parsyan said.
Arshaluis Mghdesyan, Editor-Coordinator
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