The Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun) largely supports sweeping constitutional changes that have been drafted by a commission formed by President Serzh Sarkisian, a leader of the opposition party said on Thursday.
“We have a problem with some paragraphs and wordings, but on the whole we think that our view has prevailed,” Hrant Markarian, the head of Dashnaktsutyun’s worldwide governing Bureau, told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am).
Markarian argued that the draft amendments to the Armenian constitution that were publicized by the commission last week envisage the country’s transition to a parliamentary system of government, something which has long been advocate by his party. He said the commission also accepted most of Dashnaktsutyun’s proposals on constitutional reform made earlier this year.
One of the accepted proposals called for the conduct of parliamentary elections only on a party-list basis. However, this change could be offset by another draft amendment mandating the conduct of a second round of voting if no political party or bloc wins a “stable” parliamentary majority. The run-off parliamentary vote would pit the two leading election contenders against each other.
Several other Armenian opposition parties say this unusual arrangement would help Sarkisian’s ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK) to retain its control over the National Assembly. They say this is another reason for Armenians to reject the proposed changes in a referendum expected later this year or early next.
Markarian disagreed with the opposition critics. “Stable [parliamentary majority] is not only not concerning but is also necessary for the country,” he said. He claimed that the Armenian opposition would be able to close the ranks and defeat the HHK in a would-be parliamentary run-off.
Dashnaktsutyun’s support for the constitutional reform sought by Sarkisian has fueled speculation that it is ready to return to his government, in which it was represented by three ministers until 2009.
Markarian did not rule out the possibility of his party cutting a new power-sharing deal with Sarkisian. But he insisted that it is holding no talks with the president for that purpose yet.