After the preliminary counting of the votes at the constitutional referendum held on December 6, 2015, President Serzh Sargsyan hosted numerous officials, political and civil figures at the Presidential Palace. The President made a statement at the beginning of which he requested to honor the memory of the victims of the 1988 earthquake with a minute’s silence.
Yesterday, we together crossed over an important threshold which we were facing for the last two years. Wisdom, vision and light of faith dispelled the fog of uncertainty, suspicions and concern. Yesterday we chose to embark on the road of long-lasting and sustainable development, and because of that the Armenian statehood today is moving into the next stage.
Many of the proponents of “No” were presenting themselves as a “front”. I was trying to avoid that word as much as I could. It is my deep conviction that we have no right to have “fronts” within our country. For a nation which had the history like ours, it would be unaffordable luxury. Besides, among other objectives these changes are aimed at eliminating the necessity of organizing fronts or fighting each other.
Today, we are ready to state that parliamentary system of governance has become a reality for our country. It means we will have strong authorities and strong opposition, the role of political parties will increase, and there will be new opportunities for their development. It means also development of the partisan system which is an important prerequisite for any democratic state. Transition to parliamentary system will provide utmost transparency in the activities of the legislative and executive authorities. Responsibilities of the executive power will become more clear-cut and its accountability will grow, while its activities will become more predictable for the parliament as well as for the people.
Finally, the changes allow to be more confident about the security of our state. Constitutional provisions which envisage administration and operative management of the armed forces allow to adopt swift and efficient decision in the situation which have already become ordinary for us, or in critical situations.
Many of us were concerned with the impact these changes might have for our national security and defense. Be assured, that everything was measured with the utmost precision, otherwise, in case of a tiniest threat, I would stop the entire process.
It is very important that during the campaign, “Yes” was promoted not only by the Republican Party but also by the Armenian Revolutionary Federation and Prosperous Armenia represented in the National Assembly, as well as by a number of other parties.
“Yes” doesn’t mean that we didn’t have disagreements, disputes, or discussions. There were plenty, trust me. Nevertheless, we always were able to find compromise and develop mutually acceptable options.
I am confident that this framework of cooperation will continue to expand for the benefit of our nation state, for the benefit of the Republic of Armenia.
The reforms are an important milestone for the strengthening of the Armenian state and democratic institutions. We have to breathe new power, new life to our Constitution.
We have not yet reached our destination; on the contrary, today we just stepped on a new road.
Constitutional changes should have their proper reflection in the entire legal system of the Republic of Armenia. New constitutional laws shall be adopted, changes should be made in hundreds of laws. We need to fling ourselves into this hard work right away to prepare a new Electoral Code. These works must be finished by June 1, 2016, so that parliamentary elections of 2017 are conducted in the atmosphere of greater trust, so that results of the election are not doubted by either political parties, or our citizens.
We are ready to conduct the most open and inclusive discussions in all possible formats to finally adopt a new, faultless Electoral Code. We are ready to discuss any mechanism which can provide for transparency and trust. I hope our opponents will accept this offer, and together with us will undertake this important task.
In our turn we are ready to work hard to bring our Electoral Code in line with the best world practices. We are well aware that the quality of the forthcoming elections will shape the future of our state, our nation. For that very reason we will work openly and transparently, because trust, increasing trust is the most important thing for us.
Candid dialogue, resolution of the current problems aimed at the regulation of social life – these are prerequisites of our country’s advancement.
Today we need trust not only among political forces but also public’s trust towards the political forces. This is the only way for the political forces to mature as authorized representatives of the society in the task of carrying out changes. The National Assembly must become the primary platform for ideological disputes, for finding solutions to the most pressing issues.
In the elections, there mustn’t be those who get everything and those who get nothing.
Today when we are ready to embark on a new road, I am expressing my gratitude to all those who for the last two years were promoting this process with their efforts and dedication. I express gratitude to the Chairman of expert commission and the members for their professionalism and principled stance. I thank leaders and representatives of the political forces, to the citizens who believed in and supported this initiative. My thanks to all those who provided for the high organizational level of the referendum. It was a huge and comprehensive work, and we did it standing shoulder by shoulder.
In the process, I spoke more than once about the importance of conducting fair and transparent referendum. I am more than confident that the law enforcment bodies did their best so that this state event was conducted in a due, normal way. Now it’s time for the relevant bodies to conduct proper procedures, true to the letter and spirit of the law, and give assessment to all signal about violations. It is really important for our future.
Now we are much more well-prepared to move on more confidently on our road towards a well-organized state. I have no doubt that our quarter of a century experience of statehood will allow us to tell the difference between transient and eternal, between primary and secondary. And most importantly, I am confident that probably for the first time in the history of the newly independent Armenia, we will be able to make power a factor which will not separate but will unite all able forces. The strength of the state is not defined by the intentions of the leaders, or by their sincere wishes and promises but by a steady system which will allow to make them true. We have already made the first but a very important step towards an active and logical system. We will make next steps together and together we will pass on our generations an efficient state.
Thank you all for that.