Democracy in Armenia is irreversible – 2nd part of Pashinyan’s speech at parliament
YEREVAN, FEBRUARY 6, ARMENPRESS. Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan gave a speech at the National Assembly on February 6. ARMENPRESS reports the 2nd part of the PM’s speech.
I am not saying that the decisions of the Constitutional Court should be appealed. Let there be atonement. I say that when it comes to the direct powers of other bodies, moreover the authority of the people, the power of the people, the powers of the Constitutional Court must be highly regulated, predictable and limited by the sovereign right of the people. By the way, there is not even a single country in the world where the Constitutional Court is exercising its constitutional authority without a limit. There is no other such country except Armenia. And the situation that we also have in this regard in the Constitutional Court is a direct threat to democracy, because the most important component of democracy is the mechanism of checks and balances.
In our country, as I mentioned above, the institute of the President, the institute of the Government, the Prime Minister, and the National Assembly, even though the Constitutional Court has no counterbalance and no restraint at all, can and does actually restrict the highest holder of power - the people’s authority - including the status of the Constitutional Court. This is a direct and terrible threat to democracy, and such a constitutional court was formed to prevent the development of democracy in Armenia, because the writers of this constitution nevertheless planned that there would be neither democracy nor people’s power in Armenia until 2035. Or otherwise, the dog’s head is in the Constitutional Court.
The only hope of the former corrupt regime is pinned on Hrayr Tovmasyan and the Constitutional Court. But we will not allow it and we will take another action and today we have come together to launch that action. Today, we must make a decision to resolve this issue with the people, and the National Assembly must decide to hold a national referendum on amending Article 213 of the Constitution.
The amendment of this article should terminate the powers of all members of the Constitutional Court elected in the old manner. This will happen if the citizens of the Republic of Armenia go to the polling station on the day of the referendum and say yes to the proposed changes and to the people’s authority. In that case, two newly appointed judges will continue to serve in the Constitutional Court: Arman Dilanyan nominated by the General Assembly of judges and elected by the National Assembly and Vahe Grigoryan nominated by the President and elected by the National Assembly.
After the referendum, the Government of Armenia, the General Assembly of Judges, the President of the Republic will nominate candidates for the Constitutional Court judge, the National Assembly will elect the judges and within a few months we will have a Constitutional Court elected and acting in accordance with the Constitution of the Republic of Armenia, which will elect the President of the Constitutional Court.
Of course, we will set forth a condition before the new Constitutional Court that they should support the adoption of laws and constitutional amendments that balance the oversight powers of the Constitutional Court. And by the end of this process, we will have a constitutional court that will not be under the banner of any political force or grouping or official, but will be before the people, the reporting people, the supreme constitutional court, but no higher than the people. The Republic of Armenia, all of us need a constitutional court that will guarantee democracy and the rule of law the Republic of Armenia, and not be a threat to democracy.
Honorable Presidency of the National Assembly,
Proud Citizens of the Republic of Armenia,
And in the National Assembly and outside its borders there will be many views, discussions, speculations on the decision to hold a referendum. All necessary legal justifications are available in the draft package. I do not want to go into small or big details and I can record the most important from this high podium.
There is no problem in the Republic of Armenia that the people of the Republic of Armenia cannot solve. There is no question in the Republic of Armenia beyond the people’s authority. The citizens of the Republic of Armenia are sovereign and competent; they can solve any problem.
By the way, after the non-violent, velvet, popular revolution that took place in spring 2018, there is much talk that the Civil Contract party or the My Step Alliance came to power in a revolutionary way. This formulation is a result of misunderstanding, because the proud citizens of the Republic of Armenia were the ones to come to power in the Republic of Armenia. We are just people’s representatives; we represent the people as envisaged by Article 2 of the Constitution of the Republic of Armenia.
Yes, we represent the people and have the authority delegated to us by the people, and the Constitutional Court today does not represent the people, it represents the corrupt power of Serzh Sargsyan and it must go away.
And I want to say that all those people who may try to set legal or other obstacles to the free expression of our people’s will shall be adequately rebuffed as anti-democratic and anti-state forces. And those who accept the supreme authority of the people will become devotees of shaping the future of Armenia.
Dear compatriots, I would like to address the members of the Constitutional Court with a few words.
Dear Members of the Constitutional Court.
I understand that what I said in this talk is not pleasing for many of you; you may deem some of the episodes offensive. But I mean, I do not tend to offend anyone, I just have to call things by their own name. To say more, if anyone in any part of my speech saw some kind of offence, I apologize. But the realities do not change.
Yes, there is a crisis around the Constitutional Court that contains the threat of becoming a broader crisis, but I want to say that you can solve that crisis yourself, by doing great service to the state and the people, by providing a valuable service.
You, the ones elected under the old procedure, can resign as a member of the Constitutional Court. You can do it today, tomorrow, or you can do it before the President signs the decision on the referendum.
By the way, I would like to say that we have been discussing this issue with the President of the Republic and made sure that he approves the proposed option to resolve the situation through a referendum, regarding which I think he will make a relevant statement. So, dear members of the Constitutional Court, you can resign until the President of the Republic signs this decision and you will be of great service to the Republic of Armenia and its people.
I would also like to say that I am ready to meet with you all, individually, or all of you, to discuss its details. I can ask you to take this step in person, in your own eyes, and I can offer your support in resolving this situation on behalf of the people.
If you accept the offer, we will go ahead. If this is not acceptable to you, then the question, I am sure, will be resolved by the people of Armenia, the proud citizen of the Republic of Armenia, because the Constitution is for the people and not the people for the Constitution.
I would like to emphasize that we are ready to invite the leading international observer organizations - the Council of Europe, the OSCE, the European Union, the CIS, etc. - to observe the referendum, and there is no doubt that guarantees for the people’s free will be created just as it was the case with the 2018 free, fair, transparent democratic elections in Armenia, the results of which were not disputed in the Constitutional Court or questioned by any party, social or political group. This is the evidence of one thing: Democracy in Armenia has no alternative. Democracy in Armenia is irreversible.
Long live Freedom,
Long live the Republic of Armenia,
Long live we and our children who live and will live in a free and happy Armenia!”