Politics 17:48 04/05/2021 Armenia

Ex-chief of Armenian top court staff questions legitimacy of parliament

Nikol Pashinyan has no right to hold the prime minister’s office, Edgar Ghazaryan, a former chief of staff of Armenia’s Constitutional Court, told reporters outside the government building on Tuesday.

Pashinyan announced his resignation on 25 April to pave the way for the snap parliamentary elections in June. Meanwhile, he stated that he will continue to perform the duties of caretaker prime minister before the elections, citing the applicable law and the Constitution.

Ghazaryan also cited the Constitution in an effort to substantiate his claims. “The provision according to which members of the government continue to fulfill their duties until the formation of a new government, naturally applies to those cabinet members who did not step down. Whereas, the officials who resigned and whose resignation was accepted, in particular former Minister of Labor and Social Affairs Mesrop Arakelyan and former Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, are no longer eligible to hold office,” he said.

He indicated Pashinyan “committed a crime” under Article 300 (Part 2) of the Criminal Code by continuing to serve as interim PM and chairing the cabinet meetings.

Ghazaryan recalled that on 3 May the National Assembly discussed the issue of electing a new prime minister, Pashinyan’s candidacy was nominated and lawmakers did not elect him to the post of prime minister.

“Out of 132 MPs, only one voted to elect Pashinyan, that is, the parliament voted down Nikol Pashinyan’s candidacy as new prime minister. If the parliament in a country with a parliamentary system of government opposes a person’s election as PM, this means that he should not even think about coming to the government building. Today we definitely do not have a prime minister and for me it is important not only why he is still carrying out his duties, but also what actions he takes as a politician. In my opinion, there is a criminal conspiracy between him and the heads of the Prosperous Armenia and Bright Armenia factions, Gagik Tsarukyan and Edmond Marukyan, which will lead to the overthrow of the Armenian government formed as a result of legal and democratic elections on May 10, 2018,” Ghazaryan said.

He again cited the Constitution, which stipulates that no politician or citizen has the right to overthrow the people’s government.

“The resignation of the prime minister is a constitutional institution. The prime minister can resign at any time, and the National Assembly can vote at least twice to express no confidence in the prime minister. In this case, there is no need to hold fresh parliamentary elections, but the existing National Assembly must elect a new prime minister. If Gagik Tsarukyan and Edmon Marukyan do not want to serve as MPs any longer, our legislation also provides such an opportunity: they can lay down their mandates and be replaced by other deputies from the electoral lists,” Ghazaryan said.

According to him, the provision of the Constitution on the dissolution of the parliament after it twice fails to elect a new prime minister within two weeks is not an institution of self-dissolution, but an extreme case to settle the situation in the event of exceptional political differences.

“While now there is no such problem. The level of organization of the parliament is extremely high. This refers not only to the My Step bloc, which makes unilateral decisions, but also to the two other opposition political forces. At the moment, the legitimacy of the parliament is in doubt as the National Assembly is ruled by the ex-prime minister. 30% of our parliament must be represented by the opposition, whereas the opposition and the authorities came to an agreement and became a single team,” Ghazaryan said.  

Source Panorama.am
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