Absence of Supreme Commander-in-Chief in proposed Constitutional changes a well-thought approach: President

Speaking to representatives of Armenian TV Companies President Serzh Sargsyan voiced his support for the shift from presidential to parliamentary system of governance.

“I declare with all responsibility that the absence of a Supreme Commander-in-Chief in the proposed parliamentary system is a result of well-thought approach. If the reforms pass, the whole executive power will concentrate with the Government, and I think that attributing the duties of the Supreme Commander-in-Chief to the Prime Minister would include damages in peacetime. Why? Because when we say Supreme Commander-in-Chief, we assume the unequivocal approach of using the troops by him. But where can the troops be used in peacetime? I don’t want to go much into detail, but having so much authority and enjoying the right to use troops in peacetime is a very dangerous provision,” President Sargsyan said.

He said the duty of the Commander-in Chief is to ensure the combat readiness of the Army in peacetime and mobilize the whole resources in case of war to solve the military-political situation. “If all the resources are under the disposal of the Government, who can better ensure those functions – the one who is assigned by the Constitution to coordinate the activities of the state bodies or the one who leads the activities of the state bodies? I think that we’re making the changes to have the responsibility and right concentrate in one place.”

“I sincerely state that had there been a pure presidential system in our country, we would probably not undertake these reforms, because both the presidential and parliamentary systems have their advantages. For example, the presidential system is much better in wartime and contains no dangers, while we cannot say, either, that the parliamentary system is not viable in war situation. It is this semi-presidential system that is unviable. Israel has a parliamentary system. But doesn’t Israel face threats? I can bring a better example. What do you think was the system of governance during the military actions in Karabakh? Of course, parliamentary. I state again that in war situation the Prime Minister becomes the Supreme Commander-in-Chief, and he can be braver and more confident in his decisions, when enjoying the support of the parliament. The parliamentary system of governance envisages that a priori the Prime Minister enjoys the support of the parliamentary majority, but does not assume that the President has a majority in the Parliament,” President Sargsyan stated

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