YEREVAN—Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and Parliament Speaker Ara Babloyan on Monday held a rare meeting, during which the upcoming special parliamentary elections were discussed with the two leaders summing up their talks with a bullet-pointed announcement.
Babloyan, who is a member of ousted prime minister Serzh Sarkisian’s Republican Party of Armenia recently has voiced his criticism of the Pashinyan administration as it relates to the case against former president Robert Kocharian who has been charged with breaching Armenia’s constitutional order in relation to the post-election standoff between protesters and police on March 1, 2008 when eight civilians and two police officers were killed. Kocharian was remanded to custody but was later released following an appeal by his attorneys.
For his part, Pashinyan has maintained that his administration, unlike his predecessors, does not intervene in the judiciary. On August 17, during a rally marking his first 100 days of office, Pashinyan had terse words for certain segment of the judiciary, hinting that some judges remain on the so-called payrolls of political forces in Armenia.
The following is a four-point announcement that emanated from Monday’s meeting, setting the stage for complex discussions and negotiations over the special parliamentary elections, that Pashinyan has signaled will take place sometime early next year.
Regardless of political views everyone in Armenia has the right to freedom of expression and differing opinions;
Independence of the judiciary is a key guarantee for ensuring justice in the country; therefore the separation and balance mechanism of legislative, executive and judicial powers should not be undermined in any event;
Armenia’s judicial system has not yet exhausted itself with all its tools in the implementation of justice. However, if the sides come to a conclusion based on political discussions that there is a need to initiate “transitional justice” mechanisms, it should be carried out through amendments to the Constitution and the respective legislation and must not harm the justice system in any way;
According to the Government’s program, approved by the Parliament on June 6, 2018, the snap parliamentary elections must be held at least within a year. In the event that snap parliamentary elections are to be held through Constitutional changes, instituting a referendum can be the most democratic option since the Constitution was adopted through a referendum. Nevertheless, the choice of either option on this issue should be made based on broad public and political discussions. Such opportunities are not exhausted both in the Parliament and within civil society circles.
President Armen Sakissian was quick to welcome the Pashinyan-Babloyan meeting and through a statement expressed hope that sides carryout the agreement they have reached.
“Assessing as vital the need for all the branches of the government to act within the framework of the Constitution and the powers it grants them and to display respect to each other, the President of the Republic expects from all the political forces to be guided by the understanding of national security of our country and the sustainable and stable development priorities. National interest, the country’s security and the respect towards the rights of every citizen are a priority for all of us,” said an announcement from the presidential press service.
“The President of the Republic reaffirms his position that the best way to solve issues is through dialogue and negotiations, given that the sides respect the agreements by consistently taking actions to fulfill those agreements and taking lessons and recording achievements during the process,” continued the announcement.