Edmon Marukian, a lawmaker from the opposition Yelk alliance, believes that President Serzh Sarkisian last week reappointed Karen Karapetian as prime minister in violation of the requirements of the Constitution, because prior to making the decision he did to consult with all the factions in the parliament.
Speaking to RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am), Marukian said that no discussions regarding the candidacy for the prime minister were held with Yelk. “In the previous parliament I had a nonaligned status as a lawmaker, but I remember that there were such consultations with factions before the prime minister’s appointment, and now they, too, should have been held.”
On May 18, the day the National Assembly of the sixth convocation started its work, under the requirement of the Constitution the government resigned. The same day, Sarkisian issued an order reappointing Karapetian Prime Minister, though the Constitution provided him with a 10-day period for that.
Paragraph 4 of Article 55 of the Constitution, which Marukian refers to, says: “[The President of the Republic] shall, on the basis of the distribution of the seats in the National Assembly and consultations held with the parliamentary factions, appoint as Prime Minister the person enjoying confidence of the majority of the Deputies and if this is impossible the President of the Republic shall appoint as the Prime Minister the person enjoying confidence of the maximum number of the Deputies. The President of the Republic shall appoint the Prime Minister within ten days after acceptance of the resignation of the Government. The Government shall be formed within 20 days after the appointment of the Prime Minister.”
Marukian said that the president, who talks about increasing the role of the opposition, could have, at least, formally fulfilled the requirement of the Constitution regarding consultations with the opposition, though he acknowledged that Yelk that has only nine members in the current parliament could not have had any impact on the president’s decision.
Deputy speaker of parliament Mikael Melkumian, who represents the second largest parliamentary faction, Tsarukian Alliance, also said that President Sarkisian had not held any consultations with them regarding the reappointment of Karapetian as prime minister.
There is no information about any such consultations with parliamentary factions on the president’s official website either.
The Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun), a junior partner of Sarkisian’s ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK), said the president did consult them. Secretary of the Dashnaktsutyun faction Aghvan Vardanian did not specify, however, when and in what format the consultations were held.
Head of the HHK’s parliamentary faction Vahram Baghdasarian admitted that consultations were held not with all factions. However, according to him, there were objective reasons for that. “This was simply impossible, because by May 18 factions had not been formed yet,” he explained.
Yelk’s Marukian, meanwhile, said: “This argument proves that if the factions had not been formed yet, one should have waited until they were formed and only then held discussions and, not vice versa.”
Meanwhile, the Armenian government held a special session on Monday, endorsing a package of bills to make changes and additions in Armenia’s law on the structure of the government.
According to the press service of the Armenian government, as a result of these changes, in particular, the political post of “minister-chief of government staff” will be replaced by a discretionary post of “chief of government staff”.
The government also decided to suggest that the speaker of parliament call a special meeting of the National Assembly on May 30.
Marukian told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am) that he intended to raise the issue of the prime minister’s reappointment at that meeting.