Armenian parliament has given consent on Monday to hold a referendum on amending the country’s Constitution. The decision was taken by the majority of members of the National Assembly.
The draft constitutional reform, in particular, provides for the country’s transition from the semi-presidential to the parliamentary system of government. The president of the republic receives limited representative capacity and will be elected by parliamentarians rather than by universal and direct suffrage. The decree on holding the referendum must be signed into law by Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan.
Under the proposed reform, the president is elected for 7 years instead of the current 5 years. In addition to that, a citizen has no right to serve two terms as president and be a member of a political party during his tenure.
The opposition is strongly opposed to amending the Constitution. They argue that by fundamentally transforming the system of government Armenia’s ruling Republican Party led by Serzh Sargsyan strives to stay in power for many years.
Earlier on Monday, several dozen people took part in the protests near the parliament. Police reinforcements were moved in, several protesters were temporarily detained.
Observers believe that the referendum may be held before the end of the year.