Sarkissian Seeks To Reassure Constitutional Reform Critics

Serzh-Sark (1)a
President Serzh Sarkissian speaks at an international media forum in Yerevan in March, 2015 (Source: Photolure)

President Serzh Sarkissian speaks at an international media forum in Yerevan in March, 2015 (Source: Photolure)

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)—President Serzh Sarkissian has assured critics of his controversial constitutional reform plans that he will not seek top positions in the executive and legislative branches of government if Armenia decides to move toward a parliamentary system.

Sarkissian, whose second and final presidential term ends in 2018, already stated over a year ago that he will not seek the position of prime minister if the change takes place.

His political opponents have dismissed those assurances, saying that he would most likely become the speaker of parliament and continue to control the government. Sarkissian reportedly ruled out such a possibility at a meeting late on Thursday of the governing body of his Republican Party of Armenia (HHK).

“Today the president made it clear to skeptics that he definitely means the post of National Assembly chairman as well,” Davit Harutiunian, chief of the Armenian government staff and a senior HHK member, told reporters after the meeting.

Hrayr Tovmasian, a member of the presidential commission drafting the proposed constitutional amendments, confirmed this on Friday.

Tovmasian said that it would be impossible for Sarkissian to become speaker of parliament. He said that the president will complete his second five-year term almost a year after Armenia’s next parliamentary elections in May 2017.

Both Tovmasian and Harutiunian dismissed opposition claims that the key aim of the planned constitutional changes are to enable Sarkissian to prolong his rule without lifting the existing constitutional ban on a third presidential term. They said that the HHK is in a position to stay in power even under the existing constitution, which gives sweeping powers to the head of state.

Harutiunian, who is also a member of the presidential commission, claimed that a transition to a parliamentary republic would facilitate an eventual “peaceful regime change” in Armenia.

“And a peaceful regime change must not create dangers for the country,” he said. “This is the main idea which we are advancing with these reforms.”

“Nobody is saying that the Republican Party will win elections and stay in power for the next 100 years,” agreed Tovmasian. He said the parliamentary system would make it harder for authorities to rig elections.


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  1. Mkhitar Yepremyan said:

    Please do no make LO LOS in our ears. The TALANCH Serzh Sarkissian can peacefully leave his office any time without any dangers to our country. And what dangers are there if he leaves today from his office? Staying and prolonging his grip on power is itself a danger to all Armenians. There is no trust in him. There is no trust in Robert Kocharian and absolutely no trust in Levon Ter-Petrosian. As to the future of the Republican party I can certainly say that they are a part of this TALANCHI PYRAMID having Serzh Sarkissian at the helm.
    Changing constitution is not the answer to solve our problems in our beloved homeland. Please do not LO-LO in our ears. The time is now for Serzh Sarkissian to go right now. The man and his crook body-bodies who have looted the wealth of our nation and have brought our nation to the edge of collapse, have absolutely no right, after all of these TALAN, to even be given the opportunity to have a say in the future of Armenia’s governing system. No thank you our dear of dearest Serzh Sarkissia, no thank you for your sincere advise and thoughts, just pack up and go right now and do not even look back. No body wants you and do not try to sell yourself, no body will give even one dram for you. For God’s sake just go!

  2. Samuel Darbinian said:

    Sarkissian as a president supposed rule the country by the directive of the constitution, instead he choose work for his friend, family & self corrupt interests by abusing current constitution, after all he is pioneering to write a new good constitution & promising the nation he will be impartial, without bothering himself to mention who &how current constitution made or become worthless not working dead body.