On the surface, proposed constitutional amendments in Armenia would transform the country’s political system from a presidential to a parliamentary republic. But many Armenians worry that that changes could cement incumbent authorities’ grip on power.
Government leaders hotly deny that ulterior motives prompted them to propose the amendments last April. Nevertheless, the December 6 referendum to determine the amendments’ fate has turned into a debate over Armenia’s political identity.
The amendments are wide-ranging, but most public discussion has focused on those that would alter the political system. Under the proposed changes, the party that controls a parliamentary majority would form the government; at present, the Republican Party of Armenia (RPA) enjoys a comfortable majority. “If no stable parliamentary majority is formed as a result of an election or through building of a political coalition, a second round of election may be held,” the amendments specify.
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Marianna Grigoryan is a freelance reporter based in Yerevan and editor of MediaLab.am.