Minister Outlines Plans to Include Diaspora Armenians in Legislature

Photo Credit: Nora Yacoubian

BURBANK—President Serzh Sarkisian wants to propose a constitutional amendment, which would create two parliamentary houses, one of which will allow Diaspora Armenians to be part of the legislature, announced Diaspora Minister Hranoush Hakopyan during a meeting with community members Sunday at Arbat Golden Palace organized by the Consulate General of Armenia to Los Angeles.

Hakopyan’s explanation that the proposed upper house of the legislature would allow Diaspora Armenians to serve as representatives was met with applause and excitement by the audience.

“In assessing the issue, the president of Armenia has come to the conclusion, and is making suggestions, that yes, certain changes within the governing structure of Armenia are needed to allow Diaspora Armenians to be part of Armenia’s government,” explained Hakopyan.

The minister explained that “it is not a coincidence that we want to make changes to Armenia’s constitution” to create two house of the parliament, with the upper house—the Senate—including representatives from the Diaspora.

“Today, I witnessed the excitement by our California-Armenian community about the creation of the Senate,” said Hakopyan.

“The first step by the president was the creation of the Diaspora Ministry, through which substantive policies for Armenia-Diaspora relations were put forth. The second was the establishment of the dual-citizenship institution, and clearly we are taking the third step by creating the upper house through which the Diaspora Armenian will have a voice in the governing of the country and in creating policy,” explained Hakopyan.

In response to Hakopyan’s statements, Armenia’s presidential spokesman Armen Arzoumanyan told Panoram news agency that during the spring 2010 meeting of the Hayastan Armenia Fund board meeting discussions were had on expanding Diaspora-Armenia cooperation and board members were tasked to present recommendations in a year’s time.

Arzoumanyan said that amending the constitution was a very responsible step and it requires extensive discussion and expert input before implementation.

During the reception Sunday evening, organized by the Consulate General of Armenia to Los Angeles, Hakopyan awarded a medal to long-time community activist and benefactor Vahe Karapetyan.

The minister also briefed the gathering about the upcoming activities of the ministry, the realization of which, she said, required participation by the California Armenian community.


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  1. Avetis said:

    Bravo President Serj Sargsyan!!! From your cementing of Armenia’s strategic alliance with Russia to your longsighted embracing of our vast diaspora, you are carefully setting up the foundations of a powerful nation in the Caucasus. In many respects – you are our first real president.

  2. Armen said:

    This paragraph should read as follows:

    “The first step by ‘the president’ was the creation of the Diaspora Ministry, through which ‘substantive’ policies for Armenia-Diaspora relations were put forth. The second was the establishment of the dual-citizenship institution [favorable only to Armenians of the region, especially the post-Soviet space], and clearly we are taking the third step by creating the upper house through which the [appointed or democratically-elected?] Diaspora Armenian will have a voice in the governing of the country and in creating policy,” explained Hakopyan.

  3. Aram said:

    There is room for the Diaspora representation in the Armenian government, but do we need two Houses?
    Should we learn from the semi disfuntionality of the U.S. model? Unless we devide the number of representatives in the Armenian government into two ,and describe them one Lower and the other Upper
    House ,we might have to borrow more to pay their salaries.

  4. Christopher said:

    Sounds to good to be true. I really do not see the point of this Diaspora Minister. I do not see what role it’s really playing in connection with the diaspora. Perhaps an actual diaspora Armenian should be minister.

  5. Armen Karapetian said:

    This is indeed good news. I am glad to see that finally the Armenians of Diaspora and Armenia are on our way to be united. I am sure we will have disagreements and challenges ahead, but at the end we will be able to speak with a single voice through the Armenian government. This is also the time for all the Diaspora Armenians to consider helping Armenia not just with money but also with their knowledge and expertise. I believe this is going to be a start of a long and beautiful relationship.

  6. globalrealise said:

    unless they are citizens of Armenia and live in Armenia for a given number of years, no members of the armenian diaspora should be allowed to be a part of the Armenian government, this opens the doors for allot of further corruption, Ill take my chances with the local corruption influenced by foreign corruption.

    Move to Armenia live there, and then vote and participate as you like, until then Diasporans should only have voice, after all that is what participatory democracy is.

  7. Vazken said:

    This is greatest news since Post Genocide, and it will backfire at Turkish attempt to divide us…

  8. Hratch said:

    This is a very crucial and smart step in the direction of consolidating the Armenians. The diaspora Armenians must be directly engaged with the shaping of the motherland . Otherwise, assimilation and apathy towards the Armenia will eventually take over.

  9. Mihe said:

    Serj Sargsyan is bringing changes to Armenia, slowly although gradually. Tell the truth when he came to power i thought he was Kocharyan in making, but as the time shows hi is not Kocharyan, his ideas, crew, are very different , I am happy that I was wrong, Great job Serj Sargsyan, dont dive up to Kocharyan and Tsarukyan (DODI GAGO).

  10. Gaghant Baba said:

    This is a great victory for the Armenian nation and the Armenian people if it succeeds. It will mean that we will overcome Turkish aspirations to divide and conquer our nation. It also sends a clear message to all these other nations who do not understand Armenians, that we mean business and we cannot be ignored, because all Armenians are very much part of the process of Armenia, even living in other countries. It seems President Sargsyan saw what reality was when he made the diaspora tour, that Armenians outside Armenia are thriving, and want very much to be a part of Armenia.

    The President saw that while Armenians in Armenia have needs, we in the diaspora also have our own needs. When we Armenians are united, we can achieve our goals and overcome the effects of the genocide and live the life of freedom and prosperity which we were denied for the past 100 years.

  11. mko said:

    What planet are you Serzh-lovers living on??? The guy and his cronies stole the election and our now cementing the domination of their oligrachic economic allies. The average citizen is being marginalized further and sucked dry in taxes, fees and stupid paperwork.

    And to hell with Russia. It’s no wonder that two autocratic states are in bed with each other. Let Ivan stay north of the Caucasus where he belongs.

  12. Random Armenian said:

    I don’t understand how this would work out. How will diaspora reps be selected? How much actual legislative influence will this give diaspora reps? This doesn’t make sense to me. Why should Armenians who are not citizens of Armenia but citizens of other countries be involved in what sounds like direct legislation of Republic of Armenia? How do citizens of Armenia feel about this? Is this more of a symbolic setup. Something like the Canadian Senate? I think any spyurkahye rep will be dissapointed and frustrated being involved in the Armenian legislative process.

  13. Seervart said:

    This is very good news. Sure I applaud President Sarkisian’s move. After all, at least two thirds of Armenians do live outside of Armenia. A vast majority lives in Los Angeles area, but also in the east coast as well as Canada and Europe. Why not, Diaspora can contribute a great deal to our Motherland. This way our Armenia will start moving in the right direction to become a stronger power in the Caucasus. Next to our Artsakh. We’ll connect forever Artsakh to Armenia to have and behold a stronger Armenia!!!!!

  14. zohrab said:

    i am impressed this is the first time the motherland is harnessing her sons and daughters who are scattered all over the world yes good on you yes its a good step yes unite us for once in our history we can become 1 power by being united

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  16. papken hartunian said:

    A lot of precedural proposals, rather than substance one. First, SS must withdraw and call off the devestating protocols. Diaspora must organize as a political entity and must establish a national guard who would defend our homeland in case of attack, which is inevitable.

    • Hajin'tsi said:

      A I M E E E N to that .

      Looks like a great Idea on paper , but it’s definitly a Trick Job , he’s trying to sign-up diasporans to go along with his Evil / Farce Protocols signing sellout job plan .

  17. mko said:

    This has got to be the stupidest idea ever!!!! Diaspora Parliament my arse….

      • Seervart said:

        I know he is jealous, Hayk. Don’t pay attention and he’ll go away. Who cares what he thinks, so long as we become a much more powerful nation, we shall stand united and mighty, our Motherland and Diaspora against the whole world. Remember my dear compatriots, no one will give you a piece of land and no one wants all your well-being, but your own self. Armenia for Armenians and that of course includes every Armenian on the face of the earth. Yes Diaspora too!!!!!

  18. Mihran said:

    Indeed a right step in right direction.
    Turkeys nightmare will become a reality – a new Israel!

  19. Random Armenian said:

    Is there something similar in Israel? This still doesn’t make sense to me, but I haven’t seen how this would work out. I think what the current RA administration is trying to do is to somehow extend some sort of control over the diaspora. The following is a quote from the other article on this topic:

    “It’s a proposal that deserves attention,” Eduard Sharmazanov, the spokesman for Sarkisian’s Republican Party, told RFE/RL’s Armenian service on Tuesday. “It once again reaffirms the fact that President Sarkisian is the leader of not only the Republic of Armenia but also all Armenians. He is doing everything to ensure that Armenia-Diaspora ties are at a high level.”

    The diaspora can offer so much to Armenia but I’m not sure this is the right way. Dealing with corruption so that spyurkahye can come to Armenia and start businesses outside of Yerevan is probably the best thing to do.

    Are there any other countries that have tried something like this?

  20. Armanen said:


    Do you think things out before you open your mouth or type words out on the computer?

  21. Z said:

    How is it gonna work? Armenian diaspora is in many countries, they talk there only about Cali, while there are armenians in Russia, Germany, France, Nederlands, Belgium, Switzerland, Canada, Argentina and so on and on.
    So representatives from all these countries must participate in order to include all the diaspora. So how do you do it technically, by teleconference?

  22. Armanen said:


    The idea to establish an upper house is at its very early stages, there are a number of questions that need to be answered yet, and in due time they will be. However, I would be willing to bet that if Diaspora members were able to serve in the National Assembly, they would have to likely move to Armenia or get some kind of part time residence there, otherwise what is the point. I highly doubt members will be able to sit behind a computer in another country and participate via video conferencing.

    • Seervart said:

      I agree Armanen. They will have to get some kind of permanent residence, like about 1/3 of the time in Armenia and or more if needed be. The Turks’ schemes to divide Diaspora from the Motherland is an impossible act, let them get as jealous as they possibly want ‘good’. We are all Armenians, we are one and we stand together high, strong and mighty. Gettsse Hayasdane yev Gettsse Hay joghovurte!!!!!

  23. Gaghant Baba said:

    Dear Skeptics: your pessimism is not appreciated, because your bigotry is showing. Obviously the direction this is headed is political, which means politicians will represent the diaspora, not your local grocer via internet. If you think every Tom, Dick, Hovsep, and Armenuhi is gonna play politics, you got it all wrong. Stop being ridiculous.

  24. mko said:

    More theatrics from Serzh and his ruling band of oligarchs and thugs. Just like ass-kissers from the “Spyuk” to suck to such hollow and preposterous antics. The Spyurk hated Serzh for the Protocols and now, given the above comments, he is their new best friend. You are a bunch of opportunist self-serving arm-chair pseudo-nationalists who jump through every hoop while the average people in Armenia are paying through the nose from the policies of the regime. Reforms?? Are you people on drugs?? Just go to Yerevan, not the cozy downtown area, and see how people are making ends meet….If you want to make a difference then the ONLY WAY will be to spend real time in Armenia and create a critical mass for positive change. Do you really believe the RA Constitution will be changed to allow some figureheads from the Spyurk to sit in the Armenian National Assembly??? Dream on folks…That’s what you seem best at.

  25. Armanen said:

    mko: is an azeri or a very demented ‘Armenian’. Sadly, if he is Armenian, this is the sort of person who supports the radical, western funded, opposition in Armenia. Serj and co. may not be that great, but they are head and shoulders above the ltp, his cohorts, and their scum-bag supporters!

  26. Svetlana Swanson said:

    More Chambers for fat asses to sit on cushioned chairs and produce gobbledygook is not going to create jobs for the university graduates and laborers in Armenia. However, serious investment in productive industries will!

  27. Svetlana Swanson said:

    Instead of a Diaspora Minister Armenia needs a Corruption and Monopoly Czar, to break up the family of ‘nakharars’ who do not give small businesse,s a fighting chance to thrive.

  28. mko said:

    Hey Armanen,

    Who exactly are you referring to when you state that Serzh and his cronies are good? People like you who have a vested interest in continuing corruption, scam elections and fleecing the average citizen in Armenia. You and the blind like you are the cause for the hemorraging taking place in Armenia today – exodux, unemployment, killer bureaucracy and stifling taxes. Maybe you should spend a few weeks in Armenia and see the situation on the ground before talking out of your pseudo-nationalist and Moscow-loving arse.

  29. mko said:

    More diaspora BS. Give me dual citizenship, give me a seat in the parliament, give me, give me….
    I don’t want to get my hands dirty myself….
    Then maybe I’ll see about making the move to Armenia……
    Sit back and relax….the people in Armenia await your triumphant return…..

  30. mko said:

    Member of the Heritage parliamentary faction Larisa Alaverdyan stands against establishment of a two-chamber parliament in Armenia, with the upper house including Diaspora Armenians. She said it is inadmissible that legislative decisions should be adopted by people who do not permanently live in Armenia.

    “It is inadmissible that people living in Armenia should be affected by decisions of those who live in a foreign country,” parliamentarian noted.

  31. Hajin'tsi said:

    ” This is a very crucial and smart step in the direction of consolidating the Armenians ” . . . . . . .

    . . . This is a HUGE TRAP for diasporans whos demands differ from that of the Armenian govrnmt ,he is trying to get All Armenians on board to his signing the “Protocols ” , which he failed to pass last time around because Diasporans stood against it .

    This way he will be able to consolidate all Armenians under his wing and foce them to go along with his treacherous program of selling out .

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