I was shocked by Vahe Grigoryan’s letter. This is what Armenia’s Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said in an interview with Azatutyun Radio. In essence, Armenia’s Prime Minister supported Grigoryan’s stance on the crisis in the Constitutional Court and reiterated almost the same statements made by Grigoryan in the letter.
“I have to be honest and say that I was shocked by Vahe Grigoryan’s letter. After reading that letter, I realized that we hadn’t noticed the manipulation in the Constitutional Court during the shift of power in 2018 since we were all focused on the political manipulation with respect to Serzh Sargsyan. When the constitutional amendments were being made in 2015, we were told that this is a system for complete institutional reforms in the country, and the authors of the text of the Constitution insisted that they knew how the ideal Constitutional Court of Armenia should be in order to meet our needs. Let us not forget that, due to circumstances known to us all, the Constitutional Court is one of the most discredited institutions in Armenia since the Court has ratified electoral fraud since 1996 and, in essence, there is a crisis in terms of confidence in the Constitutional Court,” he stated.
According to the Prime Minister, as a result of manipulation within the government during the reign of the Republican Party of Armenia, it will be impossible to implement the constitutional provision on the Constitutional Court. In essence, Armenia’s Prime Minister has set forth the demand to dismiss the President of the Constitutional Court.
“The authors of the new Constitution said this is how the Constitutional Court should be. Judges of the Constitutional Court shall be elected for 12 years, not for life or until the age of 65. The President of the Constitutional Court shall be elected by the Constitutional Court, not the National Assembly, and the President shall be elected for 6 years. Does Armenia have a Constitutional Court that will be in line with the spirit and mechanism of the current Constitution? No, it doesn’t. Why? It’s because 40 days before entry into force of the new Constitution, the longstanding president of the Constitutional Court Gagik Harutyunyan resigned, and after a deal made by government officials and as a result of manipulation, Serzh Sargsyan would be Prime Minister, Gagik Harutyunyan would hold the office of President of the Supreme Judicial Council, and Hrayr Tovmasyan was elected member of the Constitutional Court and later President of the Constitutional Court instead of Gagik Harutyunyan, but the new Constitution envisages that the President of the Constitutional Court shall be elected by the Constitutional Court, and since they were writing the Constitution, they introduced a transitional provision stating that the regulations of the Constitution of 2005 applied to those who were elected members of the Constitutional Court prior to April 9. The same goes for the President of the Constitutional Court. It turns out that the Constitutional Court is described in the Constitution, but Armenia can’t have such a Constitutional Court because Hrayr Tovmasyan was the author of the text of the new Constitution and wrote it in such a way that he remains the President of the Constitutional Court until 2035, upon the consent of Serzh Sargsyan and Gagik Harutyunyan, even though the Constitution envisaged that that is not the Constitutional Court that we want to have. It turns out that the provision of the Constitution on the Constitutional Court can’t be applied until 2035 because Hrayr Tovmasyan has ‘privatized’ the Constitutional Court.”
Pashinyan stresses the fact that the year is 2019 in Armenia, but the Constitutional Court is the Constitutional Court that Armenia had in 1995. “Today, the Constitutional Court is deprived of the right to elect its president, even though the Constitution states that the President of the Constitutional Court shall be elected by the Court. Other representatives of the Constitutional Court are deprived of their constitutional right to contend for President of the Constitutional Court after six years. This means that this chapter of the Constitution won’t be in effect until 2030 because it is “privatized”.”
The Prime Minister of Armenia assumes that the chapter of the Constitution related to the Constitutional Court will never enter into force. “I assume that this chapter will never enter into force because the dynamics in the history of the Republic of Armenia show that constitutional amendments are made in Armenia once every ten years. It will turn out that our people will never have the Constitutional Court they have dreamed of, the Constitutional Court that Vardan Poghosyan, Serzh Sargsyan, Hrayr Tovmasyan and Gagik Harutyunyan described and convinced the citizens with that model.”
The Prime Minister is certain that the Constitutional Court must not be privatized. “The state official laying down the Constitution, knowing that there will be another constitutional mechanism and Constitutional Court in Armenia in 20 days, told Gagik Harutyunyan that he will be the President of the Supreme Judicial Council, clearly told Serzh Sargsyan that he will be Prime Minister of Armenia for life, and Serzh Sargsyan said Tovmasyan will be the President of the Constitutional Court for life, and this is how the Constitutional Court was privatized.
This is my political evaluation. Perhaps the National Assembly and the public need to talk to the Constitutional Court, but the Constitutional Court must not be privatized like a small shop is privatized.”