February 03
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The Constitutional Reforms Council, in its meeting Wednesday, voted in favor—and with the majority of votes—of maintaining and improving the parliamentary governance model in Armenia.

The matter of selecting the form of governance in Armenia was on the agenda of the meeting.

Council member Masis Melkonyan presented the necessity and reasons for switching to a presidential form of government in Armenia.

Davit Hakobyan, a member of the Specialized Commission for Constitutional Reforms, presented the necessity and reasons for maintaining the parliamentary form of government in the country.

After the respective presentations, there was a question-and-answer session between the members of the council and the speakers, and the members of the council delivered remarks.

At the end of the meeting, the Constitutional Reforms Council voted in favor—by 8 votes, 1 against, and 1 abstention—of preserving the parliamentary form of government and improving the parliamentary government model in Armenia.

In this regard, Daniel Ioannisyan, the coordinator of the "Union of Informed Citizens" NGO, wrote as follows on Facebook: "The Constitutional Reforms Council made a decision a little while ago that there will be no change in the governance model, there will be no transition to presidential or semi-presidential [governance], public administration will remain parliamentary.

I voted for this approach, as:

The parliamentary governance model is less prone to crises and more conducive to their democratic and peaceful resolution.

Unlike the presidential (and semi-presidential), in the parliamentary model, the executive and legislative branches [of power] are formed by the same elections, and the confrontation between the legislative and executive branches is practically excluded.

Armenia is unable to change the model of governance, as it will be a great stress for the public administration system.

For the sake of clarity, let me note that the parliamentary [model] differs from the presidential or semi-presidential [model] in terms of who is the head of the executive power: The prime minister elected by the parliament? Or the president elected by the people?

The ‘Union of Informed Citizens,’ however, considers that the existing model is not fully parliamentary either. It is somewhat presidential—[but] without presidential elections. In this regard, together with the Vanadzor Office of the Helsinki Civil Assembly, we have submitted a number of proposals that there be real mechanisms for checks and balances of the government.

We will inform the public about it. But let me briefly say that we propose that along with the parliamentary procedure, the President of the Republic should be elected by popular vote, not be endowed with any function specific to the executive power, but have counterbalancing functions; for example, real participation in the formation of judicial, electoral, and anticorruption bodies.

P.S. In fact, it would be very good if the question of the governance model were decided by a separate consultative (interim) referendum, and with the results of that referendum, our council would build a draft of a good parliamentary or semi-presidential constitution. In that case, the people would sense even more that they are the creator of law and order. But, unfortunately, holding an interim referendum in this situation is not realistic."

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