“Prime minister's dictatorship or responsible governance?"
According to the Constitution of 2015, after April 9 Armenia will shift to parliamentary governance system. The legislative changes in the new system grant the prime minister with fairly comprehensive and influential powers.

Civil society and opposition representatives argue that such changes provide basis for "super-prime ministerial" system. In response to the voiced concerns, representatives of the authorities assure that the changes aim to raise the responsibility and efficiency of governors.

At the discussion on "Prime minister's dictatorship or responsible governance?" hosted by the Media Center on March 13, the speaker, ethnographer Hranush Kharatyan, noted that contrary to the assertions by the authorities, the new Constitution did not at all guarantee any balance and mutual restraint mechanisms for the branches of power. According to her, the parliamentary oversight function is discretionary in nature and all the power will be concentrated in the prime minister’s hands.

"The Government will become the head of power and exercise all the power. In other words, it means that the Government will seize the power. Clearly, this is a Constitution tailored for one single person," Hranush Kharatyan says.

When asked whether there is any country around the world with parliamentary governance system with its prime minister granted the powers to be granted to the future Armenian prime minister, human rights activist Avetik Ishkhanyan said, 

"We shouldn’t confuse authorities with public agencies. The public agencies cover the legal and judicial system that must work like a clock, regardless of the political authorities. Such public agencies are the police, prosecutor's office and investigative bodies. Presumably, investigative bodies should be independent, and the police and the national security service should report to relevant ministries. But this Law turns them all into services reporting to the prime minister." The human rights activist also notes that if such laws are passed, March 1 events may recur.

"This is a Constitution of strengthening the power of the authorities and maintaining existence of the people," Avetik Ishkhanyan says.

Human rights activist Artur Sakunts believes that the Constitution was amended to serve the political interests of one single person and therefore, no quality parliamentary governance model might be ever introduced.

"The Constitution was amended so that Serzh Sargsyan was not constrained by his 2nd presidential term to keep his power. This is called constitutional trick and deception. This is a constitution for the subjects. This constitution turns Armenian citizens into subjects."

The speaker emphasizes that regardless of the political force or individual at the head of the power, this governance system is vicious in itself.

"Presumably, a person will possess full information on all and not only update such information through public agencies, but also control the human behavior not by law but rather by their loyalty to the authorities."

Derenik Malkhasyan, Media Center Project Editor/Coordinator

To contact the author, please email him: [email protected]

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