“Constitutional Amendments of 2015: Consequences and Impact on Socio-Political Life”
06.12.2017
12:00
On December 6, 2015, a referendum on constitutional amendments was held in Armenia. The draft Constitution proposed to move from the semi-presidential system to the parliamentary system.

According to official data, more than 825,000 of 1 million 300 thousand citizens participating in the referendum said "Yes" to the constitutional amendments, and more than 421,000 citizens said "No".

Supporters of the constitutional amendments argued that in case of adopting a new constitution, key issues related to public administration, political and judicial spheres will be solved in Armenia.

Two years after the referendum during the discussion entitled “Constitutional Amendments of 2015: Consequences and Impact on Socio-Political Life”held at Media Center on December 6, Davit Hovhannisyan, Representative of “You won't pass” initiative, said that all their concerns have become reality and after the referendum there is no political struggle in Armenia.

“The main platform for political changes in Armenia was the presidential election, and the public did not provide such a mobilization for any other elections. Realizing this very well, a draft of constitutional amendments was prepared that would eliminate the presidential elections in general,” Davit Hovhannisyan said, adding that “the possibility of changes in political or electoral ways in Armenia has disappeared by the new constitution. It's no coincidence that after December 6, 2015, we see at least three groups who have tried to achieve an armed change of power.”

According to attorney Tigran Atanesyan, after December 6, 2015 there has been no change in the judicial system and it is not expected and there will be only minor changes related to renaming and quantity changes.

“There cannot be an independent judicial system in Armenia. No, we are neither that country, nor the society. We are not ready for an independent judiciary. Nobody in our society is ready for the inevitability of punishment when you cannot offer money to the judge and get rid of the punishment, our nation will not accept that.”

The lawyer believes that at this stage we can have independent judges, individuals who exist now and have made certain impact on the environment. The speaker mentions two steps that can improve the judiciary system:

“The introduction of the jury's institute, the establishment of specialized courts would have a positive impact.”

Assessing the current constitution, the latter considers it a “classic Soviet constitution”.

“In the Constitution, the real and artificial centers of power can be in different places. A person who owns the real leverage of this country may not have a post. If someone controls the finances and powers in this country, he controls everything.”

Edgar Vardanyan, Political Scientist, referring to statistics, notes that authoritarian, dictatorial regimes usually exist in presidential and semi-presidential systems, and vice versa, democratic regimes mostly exist in parliamentary governance system.

“But this does not mean that if you want to build democracy, you must definitely choose parliamentary system. In general, governance systems - presidential, semi-presidential or parliamentary are typical of democratic regimes. All systems can be effectively implemented if we can have a de facto democratic regime.”

The political scientist notes that San Marino has been an example of the introduction of the stable majority governance embedded in Armenia.  

“In San Marino, political forces have diverse and very equal parties. Coalition governments are always formed and it was enough for one person to change his position, the entire coalition collapsed and new elections were appointed. Armenia does not have such a problem, and the current system has not come from the Armenian issue. Those who have invested in a stable majority system have been guided by unknown motives.”

At the same time, the expert draws attention to the fact that while the issue of constitutional amendments was on the agenda, the representatives of the ruling Republican Party insisted that the best option for Armenia was semi-presidential. But months later, they tried to prove the opposite.

“The interesting thing is that Serge Sargsyan has initially opposed the parliamentary government, and after the election campaign began, he justified how well the parliamentarian system was,” the political scientist said. “All this is so artificial and has nothing to do with Armenian issues, it's not justified in any way, and people have been guided by motivation to solve purely conjunctural and narrow political issues.”

To watch the video, follow the link.  

Derenik Malkhasyan, editor/events coordinator at “Media Center”

To contact the author please send an email to [email protected].

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