During an interview on Armenian Public Television today, Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan said establishing a constitutional reality in Armenia has been the goal of his cabinet since they day of its formation.
“Our objective has been to make sure power belongs to the people and the people form power through free elections. Today, every citizen of Armenia knows that he can form power at the levels of the State and local self-governance,” he stated.
The Prime Minister said the following to link constitutional reality with the Constitutional Court. The difference between the former and existing models of the Constitutional Court is that, unlike the previous model when the candidates for member and president of the Constitutional Court were nominated by the President or parliamentary speaker of Armenia and the parliament would elect them, according to the new model, three candidates for judges of the Constitutional Court are nominated by the President, the Government and the General Assembly of Judges. I must state that, based on the new regulations, the two institutions entitled to nominate judges are depoliticized.”
According to Pashinyan, the second and third features are the term of office of a judge of the Constitutional Court and the election of the president of the Constitutional Court (the Constitutional Court will elect the president of the Constitutional Court, not the National Assembly).
Pashinyan added that it is important to make amendments to the Constitution. “We have introduced a totally new system of governance which is a mechanism, and all the details of the mechanism need to comply with the parameters that are described in the Constitution,” he said.
When asked why the government is rushing to make amendments to the Constitution when it has already started making constitutional reforms, the Prime Minister said it is because constitutional reforms will take a long time and imply very serious and in-depth changes.
In response to the claims that this is an illegal way of amending the Constitution, the Prime Minister said he doesn’t agree and reminded that the National Assembly itself can make a constitutional amendment, but since it has to forward the amendment to the Constitutional Court, and there is a crisis in the Constitutional Court and a judge can’t participate in the examination of a case that concerns him or her, and the Constitution of Armenia states that if the National Assembly doesn’t adopt the package of constitutional amendments, the issue can be put to a referendum by 3/5 of the votes, there is no legal issue.