Tuesday, 07 July 2020

W Weekly Update

1-8 February

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Weekly update

 

8 February

President Armen Sarkissian’s Office has received the parliament’s decision on calling a referendum for the bill on ending the terms of Constitutional Court Chairman Hrayr Tovmasyan and several justices of the high court, Sarkissian’s aide Hasmik Petrosyan told ARMENPRESS. She said the Speaker of Parliament sent the draft legislation to the President. By law, now Sarkissian has 3 days to sign or not sign the bill.

 

7 February

After following, with deep concern, the events that unfolded in the National Assembly of the Republic of Armenia on February 6, we state that the legislature’s decision to designate a referendum is an overt violation of the Constitution of the Republic of Armenia and constitutional legislation. This is stated in the statement issued by first Human Rights Defender of Armenia Larisa Alaverdyan, President of the Helsinki Committee of Armenia Avetik Ishkhanyan and lawyer Ruben Melikyan, said NEWS.am.

 

6 February

ARMINFO reported, Armenian President Armen Sarkissian considers the legal justification of the amendments adopted by the National Assembly regarding the disclosure of banking secrets controversial and appealed to the Constitutional Court with a request to consider their compliance with the country's Constitution.  This was reported by the press service of the President of Armenia. According to the information, the matter concerns additions and amendments to two laws: the Code of Criminal Procedure and the Bank Secrecy Law. These amendments were adopted by the National Assembly of the Republic of Armenia on January 22, 2020.

 

5 February

RFE/RL’s Armenian Service (Azatutyun.am) reported, in a move denounced by the Armenian opposition, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian’s My Step bloc has drafted constitutional changes that would dismiss seven of the nine members of Armenia’s Constitutional Court locked in a bitter dispute with the government. The amendments were unveiled on Wednesday one day before an emergency session of the Armenian parliament which will discuss a separate My Step bill limiting the court’s powers. They call for the replacement of the court’s embattled chairman, Hrayr Tovmasian, and six other judges who were installed by the former Armenian governments.

 

4 February

The Presidential Office informed, President Armen Sarkissian today at the Presidential Palace had a working meeting with Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian. Stressing the importance of the regular working meetings, which have become a tradition, Armen Sarkissian and Nikol Pashinian discussed issues pertinent to the country’s current agenda.

President Armen Sarkissian: Mr. Prime Minister, I am glad to host you today. This, it looks, has become a tradition – to meet regularly, to discuss all events which are going on in the country and beyond, on the international arena, and share information about visits, meetings, achievements, and difficulties of our own - government and presidential institutes. Thus, I once again welcome you at the office of the President of Armenia.

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian: Thank you, Mr. President, I am glad to see you. This is actually our first working meeting in 2020, and I am glad also to note that year 2019 was successful for the Republic of Armenia. Data on the economic activity in 2019 has been published and I can state that in 2019 we had the highest index of economic activity since the application of that method of the economic analysis which was introduced in 2011. In 2019, we registered the period of transitional governance after the revolution and the topic of institutional changes in our country has been becoming more and more important in our discussions as well as the conceptualization and introduction of the strategic governance logic.

I believe, in 2020 we will enter such a phase and maturing of institutions in our country, introduction of the system of checks and balances has always been in the center of our attention and stay there. We have also responded to the situation around the Constitutional Court, the crisis, if I may say so, and I hope that today we will discuss problems related to it and will exchange views.

I certainly share your viewpoint that we should approach the problem based on the logic of the country’s institutional sustainability, our country’s national and state interests’ logic, the logic of having a clear-cut and working system of checks and balances because only then we will have the irreversible democracy, irreversible rule of law with all the ensuing consequences and, certainly, irreversible constitutional reality which has always been in the center of our attention and the focus of our working discussions. So, I am very glad to have this opportunity.

 

3 February

President of the Venice Commission Gianni Buquicchio has issued a statement over the situation surrounding the Constitutional Court of Armenia, emphasizing the principle of voluntary early retirement of the judges. He urged to de-escalate the situation and resolve the situation in an atmosphere of restraint and mutual respect. ARMENPRESS reports the statement of Gianni Buquicchio runs as follows, "Following my statement of 29 October 2019, I remain preoccupied about the open conflict involving the Constitutional Court of Armenia. I share the concerns of the rapporteurs of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in this respect.

 

1 February

Chaired by Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, the draft strategy for public administration reform was discussed in Government, the Prime Minister Office Opening the meeting, Nikol Pashinyan noted that the public administration reform is very important. “Our goal is to ensure that the citizens of the Republic of Armenia experience as little discomfort as possible in relations with the public administration system. To solve this problem, we must make the public administration system more attractive for highly skilled professionals who can live up to the task in all aspects. On the other hand, we have set ourselves the task of ensuring higher efficiency in public spending. The ultimate goal is to create a business-friendly environment and make people’s life better through a citizen-centric public administration system,” Nikol Pashinyan said. The meeting discussed issues related to the development of policies in the areas of public administration, human resource management, the provision of public services, accountability and institutional development. The Premier emphasized the importance of establishing clear-cut assessment criteria and instructed those responsible to continue developing the strategy.

 

Sources: https://www.president.am, https://www.azatutyun.am/en, https://armenpress.am, https://news.am/eng/, https://arminfo.info/, https://www.panorama.am/en/, https://www.primeminister.am/en/press-release/.

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The Armenian Center for National and International Studies

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