President Serzh Sarkisian will not become prime minister or parliament speaker if Armenia adopts the parliamentary system of government in 2018, a leader of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun) insisted on Thursday.
“I trust in what I have read and heard,” Aghvan Vartanian told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am). “In case of the parliamentary system, the president will not become prime minister or speaker of the National Assembly because he will serve as president until 2018, while the next parliamentary elections will held in 2017 under the proportional representation system.”
Vartanian said that Sarkisian has given such assurances in his public statements and during “private discussions” with Dashnaktsutyun leaders. He said the president may only stay on as chairman of the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK) after serving out his second term in 2018.
“Nobody can strip Serzh Sarkisian of Armenian citizenship and ban him from engaging in political activities,” added the veteran politician.
Dashnaktsutyun, which is nominally in opposition to the Armenian government, strongly supports Armenia’s transition to the parliamentary system envisaged by constitutional amendments put forward by Sarkisian. Its leaders say the constitutional reform would foster the country’s democratization.
In televised remarks aired on Thursday, Sarkisian stopped short of reaffirming his pledges not to hold on to power in a different capacity in 2018 if Armenians approve the proposed amendments in Sunday’s referendum.