The real results of the past referendum of constitutional reforms in Armenia are unknown, political scientist, Deputy Director of the Caucasus Institute Sergey Minasyan said in an interview to EADaily. According to him, to adopt a new constitution and to make it work are two different things.
“The results of the referendum were not unexpected to me as were the mechanisms used by its organizers. I don’t think that the authorities rigged the ballot. Their trumps in the game were their administrative resources in the country and the deeply enrooted apathy in the Armenian society. The opposition played their game very badly and only helped the rulers to make their plan come true. In any case, it is early yet to speak about Armenian parliamentarianism as a new reality in Armenia,” Minasyan said.
“It is not enough to amend a constitution. Here you need to adopt lots of other laws. For example, we are yet unaware what the new electoral code will look like. President Serzh Sargsyan says it has to be ready by June 2016 but six months will hardly be enough for drafting and pushing through a whole code,” Minasyan said.
According to him, Armenia also needs a whole package of checks and balances - “for we must try to avoid the problems Georgia faced when Mikheil Saakashvili was not yet president while Bidzina Ivanishvili was already prime minister. We may well see this ‘cat-and-mouse’ game replayed in Armenia. On paper everything is perfect, but we have no experience of implementing such documents. Though based on western traditions, Armenian parliamentarianism is unique. So, I don’t think that anybody can say how it will work in Armenian reality,” Minasyan said.
He believes that the parliamentary elections of 2017 will be decisive for Armenia. “This is the deadline for the Armenian authorities to know this all into shape,” Minasyan said.
Earlier EADaily quoted the Central Electoral Commission of Armenia as saying that 63.55% of voters or 825,622 people supported the constitutional reforms suggested by the Armenian authorities, 32.35% or 421,593 voted contra. The turnout was 50.51%. The total number of voters, according to the Commission, is 2,550,323. The opposition and many voters doubt that these figures are true.
The new constitution stipulates a parliamentary regime in Armenia.