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OPINION | Pashinyan Plans to Fulfill Demand for Adopting a New Constitution by Turkey and Azerbaijan

Updated: Apr 18

Opinion piece by Ani Gevorgyan

The recent discussions surrounding Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan's push for a new constitution in Armenia have ignited speculation and concerns within the nation. Some argue that Pashinyan's motives may be aligned with fulfilling the demands of the presidents of Azerbaijan and Turkey, a notion that has been persistently voiced by Azerbaijan since 2021.

The heart of the matter lies in the existing constitution's preamble, which not only emphasizes the declaration of independence of the Republic of Armenia on August 23, 1990, but also makes mention of Artsakh. Additionally, the constitution explicitly supports the recognition and condemnation of the Armenian Genocide in Western Armenia and the Ottoman Empire.

Seen as the highest value and the bedrock of laws, the constitution holds immense significance. Critics argue that rejecting the declaration of independence could be tantamount to refusing the process of recognizing the genocide, potentially compromising Armenian statehood and making it reliant on Turkey and Azerbaijan.

Pashinyan's government, known for its distinctive approach, prompts questions about the urgency for a new constitution when amendments have already been made several times in the past. Constitutional documents from 1990-91 under Levon Ter-Petrosyan, during Robert Kocharyan's administration, and subsequent amendments during Serzh Sargsyan's time in 2015, illustrate a history of changes. The current government is initiating a second constitutional amendment, following the one carried out in 2020.

Advocates for stability argue that the constitution is not a decision or a verbal declaration that should undergo frequent changes. Pashinyan's plan to organize a meeting for the adoption of the new constitution raises eyebrows, as there appears to be no evident public demand for such a drastic move.

Concerns deepen as some speculate that Pashinyan may be leveraging the constitutional debate to navigate flawed parliamentary elections. This strategy could potentially allow him to legitimize new concessions that Armenia might have to make in the event of a peace treaty.

Pashinyan's assertion that Armenia needs a new constitution, not just amendments, is met with skepticism. He emphasizes the importance of a constitution adopted by the people through an unquestionable vote, citing legitimacy as a key factor. Additionally, he argues for a constitution that enhances Armenia's competitiveness and viability in the ever-evolving geopolitical and regional conditions.

Despite ongoing discussions by the authorities regarding the need for a new constitution, a draft has not been presented yet. Criticisms are emerging from professional and political spheres, with various initiatives forming to legally challenge the proposed amendment of the current constitution.


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