“The 4th President of Armenia: a Ceremonial Position or a Weighty Political Figure?”
24.01.2018
12:00
On March 2, 2018, the RA National Assembly will elect the 4th President of Armenia. On January 18, Armen Sargsyan, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Armenia to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Former Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia, was nominated as the candidate for the presidency of the Republic of Armenia during the meeting of the executive body of the Republican Party of Armenia (RPA).

On the following day, Serzh Sargsyan, Leader of RPA, proposed Armen Sargsyan to be nominated as a presidential candidate on behalf of RPA. Armen Sargsyan has promised to give a final answer after his meetings with political and public circles.

During the discussion entitled “The 4th President of Armenia: a Ceremonial Position or a Weighty Political Figure?” on January 24 at Media Center, Hakob Badalyan, Political Commentator, says that  de jure the position of the president has no key role, and there are no essential levers of power but de facto, it can be important and have a role. But much depends on what Serzh Sargsyan will decide on his de jure involvement  in the governing system.

“If Serzh Sargsyan is elected as a prime minister, Armen Sargsyan will not be the president of Armenia but he will be the president working for Serzh Sargsyan. In order to be the President of Armenia, Serzh Sargsyan should not be the Prime Minister after April 2018.”

The political commentator also thinks that Armen Sargsyan has the potential to become a pole in the current government and political system because the arrangement in the current system is conditioned by capital. And, according to him, a candidate who is a carrier of certain capital has been elected, and he has political and business networks within international frameworks.

“This is a solid resource for Armen Sargsyan, which will be doubled by the position of the president and he will become a new, counterbalance pole within the newly formed parliamentary system of government. He may counterbalance Prime Minister Karen Karapetyan or Russian-Armenian capital that came to Armenia with the Prime Minister, as well as to Armenian capital, oligarchy. On the other hand, he will become part of the government's consensus.”

Vigen Hakobyan, Political Technologist, believes that if the candidate is represented by the political majority, his impartiality is not a political but moral category. According to him, the impartiality will end when there will be a conflict of interests. In his opinion, in recent years, Serzh Sargsyan has appointed key positions to outsourcers.

“Serzh Sargsyan and the group forming a new system according to the Constitution are trying to involve outsourcers who are not perceived as the direct "birth" of the same system. As a result, there is a system where there are flexible counterbalances, sometimes complementarities. In that same system, besides the formal functions mentioned in the Constitution, they want to see Armen Sargsyan with broader powers,” Vigen Hakobyan says. “If they were to speak of a formal position, as they say, like the English queen, they would choose a much weaker candidate and that would be a retired job. The goal of the system is to use the mechanism of complementarities and counterbalance as much as possible.”

According to Edgar Vardanyan, Political Analyst, though according to the new Constitution the position of the country's president is more representative but the president of the country, being the head of the state, may have a very serious political role especially in crisis situations.

“The president can create an atmosphere, influence the public moods, raise issues that are not raised by the ruling political party. For example, he may possibly not sign the laws passed by the National Assembly. This will be a political step and, as a consequence, acting through the constitutionally-legitimate rights, it can create problems, present the opposition's moods and strengthen the opposition's positions,” Edgar Vardanyan said.

At the same time, according to Edgar Vardanyan, as the current regime is not democratic, the Constitution may not work, and the powers and rights reserved for the president will not work.

“All political appointments and rearrangements in Armenia are shadowy, and it is clear that somebody is appointing someone for an agreement. And if those arrangements are violated, it is necessary to find out the relationships again in the shadow field. Armen Sargsyan will be restrained by this but that does not mean that in crisis situations he cannot take on his own role.”

To watch the video, follow the link.  

Derenik Malkhasyan, editor/events coordinator at “Media Center”

To contact the author please send an email toderenikmalkhasian@gmail.com.

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