Constitution of Armenia
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The Constitution of Armenia was adopted by a nationwide Armenian referendum on July 5, 1995. 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. 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. 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a replica of the Soviet Union's 1977 document, remained in effect except in cases where specific legislation superseded it.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 massacre. As 1994 began, observers expected a long struggle before parliament adopted a final version.
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). Their main provisions are summarized here.
Fundamental Rights and Freedoms
President of the Republic
The President's role is to uphold the constitution and ensure the functioning of the branches of state.
- Directly elected for 5-year term
- Must receive a majority of votes to be elected; if no candidate wins a majority, a second election is held between the two leading candidates.
- Must be at least 35 years old.
- Can serve no more than two consecutive terms.
- Can return legislation to the National Assembly, with objections and recommendations. But ‘The President shall sign and promulgate within five days the law re-adopted by the National Assembly’’
- Appoints the Prime Minister; this must be whoever has support of the most deputies in the National Assembly.
- Supervises foreign policy
- Appoints 4 members of Constitutional Court (55, s. 8)
- Commander-in-Chief of armed forces
- The First Constitution of the Republic of Armenia (5 July 1995)
- The Constitution of the Republic of Armenia (27 November 2005) Archived October 13, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
- The Constitution of the Republic of Armenia (27 November 2005), Chapter 3: The President of the Republic, Article 55.
- 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.
- "Armenia 1995 (rev. 2005)". Constitute. Retrieved 17 March 2015.