YEREVAN (RFE/RL) — Armenia should adopt a new constitution that could abolish the country’s Constitutional Court, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said on Monday, June 15.
Pashinyan insisted that he wants to establish an “organic connection between the state order and the will of the people,” rather than cement his hold on power.
Most Armenians, he said, do not feel such a connection because they played no part in the enactment of their country’s post-Soviet constitution and numerous amendments to it made by their former governments.
“I’m not one of those people who think that the country’s constitutions should frequently undergo changes,” he told a government commission on constitutional reform formed early this year. “But I must also say that especially at this juncture I am of the opinion that we need to not just enact constitutional changes but to adopt a de jure new constitution.”
Pashinyan stressed that the commission should not try to reverse Armenia’s transition to the parliamentary system of government which was controversially engineered by former President Serzh Sargsyan. It should work on other changes mostly relating to the judicial system, he said.
In particular, Pashinyan suggested that the ad hoc panel “very seriously” consider drafting constitutional provisions that would merge the Constitutional Court with the Court of Cassation, Armenia’s highest body of criminal and administrative justice. He said that the two courts have offered different interpretations of Armenian laws on a number of occasions.