Armenian Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamian will form and manage headquarters that will run the ruling party’s campaign in favor of constitutional amendments planned to be put to a referendum later this year.
Eduard Sharmazanov, a spokesperson for the Republican Party of Armenia (HHK), said late on Monday that the decision was made at a meeting of the party’s executive body.
Armenia - Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamian speaks at a cabinet meeting, Yerevan, 31Aug2015.
Sharmazanov said that Abrahamian, who is also a senior member of the HHK, will not take a leave but will combine his duties as prime minister with that of the referendum campaign manager. The HHK said this way he will not be breaking the law on referendums.
Abrahamian also successfully managed several other electoral campaigns of the HHK in the past.
Thus, half a year before the 2012 parliamentary elections Abrahamian resigned as parliament speaker to become manager of the HHK campaign. He was reelected to the post in the new parliament where the HHK retained its majority.
Two of the five opposition factions in the Armenian parliament – namely the Prosperous Armenia Party and the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun) – have also announced their decisions to run “Yes” campaigns in the December 6 referendum.
Like the HHK, they believe the changes to the Constitution envisaging a transition to a parliamentary form of government will decentralize power and facilitate the country’s further democratization.
The Armenian National Congress, Heritage and some other opposition parties and groups have declared their intentions to carry out “No” campaigns.
They maintains that the proposed constitutional amendments are aimed at enabling incumbent President Serzh Sarkisian to indefinitely stay in power in a different capacity after the end of his second and final presidential term in 2018.
Sarkisian has denied this, saying that he will not become prime minister or parliament speaker in case of Armenia’s transformation into a parliamentary republic.
Legal experts from the Council of Europe’s Venice Commission largely endorsed the draft amendments in September after most of the changes in the text recommended by them were accepted by the Sarkisian administration.