Constitution of Armenia

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The Constitution of Armenia was adopted by a nationwide Armenian referendum on July 5, 1995.[1] This constitution established Armenia as a democratic, sovereign, social, and constitutional state. Yerevan is defined as the state's capital. Power is vested in its citizens, who exercise it directly through the election of government representatives. Decisions related to changes in constitutional status or to an alteration of borders are subject to a vote of the citizens of Armenia exercised in a referendum. There are 117 articles in the 1995 constitution. On November 27, 2005, a nationwide constitutional referendum was held and an amended constitution was adopted.[2] The constitution was amended again in a national referendum on December 6, 2015 that changed the political structure from a semi-presidential system to a parliamentary republic.

According to the November 2005 Constitution, the President of the Republic appoints the Prime Minister based on the distribution of the seats in the National Assembly and consultations with the parliamentary factions. The President also appoints (or dismisses from office) the members of the Government upon the recommendation of the Prime Minister.[3] Given the constitutional powers of the president, Armenia can be regarded as a semi-presidential republic.

Early constitutional history and drafting of the 1995 constitution

Immediately after independence, the 1978 constitution, a replica of the Soviet Union's 1977 document, remained in effect except in cases where specific legislation superseded it. At the end of 1992, the president and the APM parliamentary delegates presented a draft constitution. They put forward a revised version in March 1993. Then, after nearly a year's work, a bloc of six opposition parties led by the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) presented an alternative constitution in January 1994 that would expand the parliament's power, limit that of the president, expand the authority of local government, allow Armenians everywhere to participate in governing the republic, and seek international recognition of the 1915 Genocide. As 1994 began, observers expected a long struggle before parliament adopted a final version.[4]

Main provisions of the constitution

The 117 articles of the Constitution are divided into nine chapters. Chapters 2-5 concern Fundamental Rights and Freedoms (chapter 2), the President of the Republic (chapter 3), the National Assembly (chapter 4), the Government (chapter 5), and the Judicial Power (chapter 6).[5] Their main provisions are summarized here.

Fundamental Rights and Freedoms

Content here.

President of the Republic

The President of Armenia (Armenian: Հայաստանի Նախագահ, Hayastani Nakhagah) is the head of state and the guarantor of independence and territorial integrity of Armenia elected to a single seven year term by the National Assembly of Armenia.[6] Under Armenia's parliamentary system, the President is simply a figurehead and holds ceremonial duties, with most of the political power vested in the Parliament and Prime Minister.

Prime Minister

The Prime Minister of Armenia is the head of government and most senior minister within the Armenian government, and is required by the constitution to "determine the main directions of policy of the Government, manage the activities of the Government and coordinate the work of the members of the Government." Also -according to the constitution-, the Prime Minister heads the Security Council, which prescribes the main directions of the country's defense policy; thus, the Prime Minister is effectively the commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces of Armenia.[7].

Under the 2015 constitution, the Prime Minister is the most powerful and influential person in Armenian politics. The Prime Minister is appointed by the President of Armenia upon the vote of the National Assembly. The Prime Minister can be removed by a vote of no confidence in Parliament. In the constitutional referendum held in 2015, citizens voted in favor of transferring Armenia into a parliamentary republic.

National Assembly

The National Assembly of the Republic of Armenia (Armenian: Հայաստանի Հանրապետության Ազգային ժողով, Hayastani Hanrapetyut'yan Azgayin zhoghov or simply Ազգային ժողով, ԱԺ Azgayin Zhoghov, AZh), also informally referred to as the Parliament of Armenia (խորհրդարան, khorhrdaran) is the legislative branch of the government of Armenia.

Government

The Government of the Republic of Armenia (Armenian: Հայաստանի Հանրապետության Կառավարություն) is the executive branch of the government in Armenia. It is an executive council of government ministers headed by the Prime Minister of Armenia.

Judicial Power

The Judiciary of Armenia interprets and applies the law of Armenia. Under the doctrine of the separation of powers, judiciary exercises judicial power separately from the legislative power of parliament and executive power of the prime minister. As per the Constitution, it is defined with a hierarchical structure headed by the Supreme Judicial Council.

Based on article 7 of the Constitution of the Republic of Armenia, judiciary in Armenia is exercised only by the courts through a three-tier judicial system, with the guarantor of its unrestricted implementation being the Supreme Judicial Council.[8]

Minorities

The Constitution sets aside four seats in Parliament for ethnic minorities, one each for Russians, Yezidis, Assyrians and Kurds, respectively.[9]


See also

References

  1. ^ The First Constitution of Armenia (5 July 1995) Archived 1 August 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ The Constitution of Armenia (27 November 2005)
  3. ^ The Constitution of Armenia (27 November 2005), Chapter 3: The President of the Republic, Article 55 Archived 2008-12-25 at the Wayback Machine.
  4. ^ Glenn E. Curtis and Ronald G. Suny. "The Constitution". Armenia: A country study (Glenn E. Curtis, ed.). Library of Congress Federal Research Division (March 1994). This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  5. ^ "Armenia 1995 (rev. 2005)". Constitute. Retrieved 17 March 2015.
  6. ^ http://www.president.am/en/constitution-2015/
  7. ^ LLC, Helix Consulting. "Constitution of the Republic of Armenia - Library - The President of the Republic of Armenia [the official site]". www.president.am. Retrieved 2018-04-10.
  8. ^ Supreme Judicial Council of the Republic of Armenia
  9. ^ Edwards, Maxim (August 2, 2017). "Armenia: Ethnic Minorities Gain a Voice in Parliament". EurasiaNet. Retrieved 2017-08-02.


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