ARF Outlines Support for New Draft Constitution

ARF parliamentary faction leader Armen Rustamian (right) and secretary Aghvan Vartanian (left) during a press conference on Monday
ARF parliamentary faction leader Armen Rustamian (right) and secretary Aghvan Vartanian (left) during a press conference on Monday

ARF parliamentary faction leader Armen Rustamian (right) and secretary Aghvan Vartanian (left) during a press conference on Monday

YEREVAN -Leaders of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation at a press briefing on Monday outlined the party’s approval for constitutional reforms, saying that the proposed package was 90 to 95 percent in line with the party’s positions and ideology.

ARF parliamentary bloc secretary and Chairman of the ARF Supreme Council of Armenia, Aghvan Vartanian told reporters that the party believes that the proposed changes offer realistic solutions to many problems confronting the country.

“This Constitution will help resolve the problems in our country or lay the grounds for reaching a solution,” Vartanian said, pointing out, however, while many of the proposals put forth by the ARF were not included in the final draft, his party will do its utmost to advance its vision.

Vartanian said that key provisions, among them a transition to a parliamentary government, the adoption of a 100 percent proportional representation system and mechanism that will provide the opposition real leverages to influence the government will go a long way to ensure the country’s development.

“These three basic principles are more explicitly reflected in the text of the Constitution. This demonstrates that our vision has prevailed, despite the fact that we are not in the government and are represented by only five seats in parliament,” said Vartanian calling this a victory for the party “that is pursuing an its own ideology.

The ARF lawmaker also outlined several instances where the ARF’s proposals have enhanced the final draft proposal, specifically addressing an earlier provision calling for a two-phased election cycle, according to which the formation of a coalition government after the first phase would be ruled out. This provision was also singled out by the Council of Europe’s Venice Commission, which oversees constitutional reforms for CofE member states, one of which is Armenia.

“When the draft was publicized for the first time, there was no chance there to form a coalition [government] after the first phase,” explained Vartanian, “[But] after our [i.e. the ARF’s] proposals, there already was a specification [of a second phase] in the [draft constitutional] text that was publicized for the second time.”

Vartanian called for active participation of all circles in the discussions over the proposed constitution and emphasized the need for healthy debate.

Also speaking at the press conference was the head of the ARF’s parliamentary bloc and member of the ARF Bureau Armen Rustamian, who said the reforms would shape a new Armenia.

Rustamian described the current system of Armenia’s government as one that allows for creating and perpetuating a one-party monopoly, saying creating mechanism to rid the country of such a system should become a top priority in the country’s political agenda.

“That is why we have proposed [adopting] the parliamentary system to decentralize power. Elections have never ever paved way for a government change and the opposition has never come to power through elections,” he said, adding that the draft reforms propose a system for distributing the authorities of government.

“The other question has to do with the government change mechanisms. It is the majority voting system that gives way to an unequal competition, so it can be eliminated constitutionally. Hence all the speculations and misinterpretations are cut from the context. I consider that a political speculation, because the allegations that they are aimed at promoting a reproduction [of power] are not reflected in the text,” he added.


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