Demonstrations against Constitutional Reforms Held in Yerevan

ARF: Reforms Will Change the System, Not Just those in Power

YEREVAN (A.W.)—Rallies continued on the streets of Yerevan today urging Armenian citizens not to vote in favor of the proposed constitutional reforms in the country’s upcoming referendum on Dec. 6. Several hundred protesters led by the “New Armenia” (Nor Hayasdan) movement— comprised of members of the Heritage Party and the Founding Parliament (formerly Pre-Parliament)—have been holding demonstrations in Armenia’s capital since Dec. 1. The group, who is calling for a complete regime change before Dec. 6, has also started a sit-in demonstration in Liberty Square.

Rallies continued on the streets of Yerevan today urging Armenian citizens not to vote in favor of the proposed constitutional reforms in the country’s upcoming referendum (Photo: Photolur)

Demonstrators gathering at Liberty Square continue to call on President Serge Sarkisian to step down and for new presidential and parliamentary elections, reported Radio Free Europe’s Armenian service, Leaders of the “New Armenia” movement also said that they would continue their demonstration until all of their demands were met. Addressing the crowd at Liberty Square on Dec. 1, opposition leader Raffi Hovannisian and member of “New Armenia” said that “this government is counting its last days.”

After a large number of supporters came out on Tuesday, the numbers of demonstrators dwindled down on the second day of protests. On Dec. 2, demonstration coordinator, Jirayr Sefilian, noted the poorer attendance, but vowed that the movement was stronger. “This doesn’t mean that we have gotten weaker,” Sefilian said, as reported by “I’m sure we are stronger than we were yesterday. Everyone realized that we can do what we want.”

ARF: Shift to a Parliamentary System will Facilitate Regime Change

Bagrat Yesayan (Photo:

Members of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) criticized the demonstration, by saying that it is pointless to change the people in power without changing the entire system. Speaking to, Bagrat Yesayan, a senior ARF member, said that Armenia’s shift to a parliamentary system through the constitutional reform would only facilitate regime change. “What do the people sitting in Liberty Square want? To change one person but keep the system intact?” he said, adding that Sarkisian and the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (RPA) can be removed from power only through elections.

The ARF has been a strong proponent for the constitutional reforms in the country. The party has advocated for a transition to a parliamentary system of government in Armenia, since independence. If adopted, the parliamentary system in Armenia would work with a 101-seat parliament with a 5-year term elected entirely by proportional representation. Under the current system of government, there are 131 members of parliament, with 41 elected in first-past-the-post constituencies and the rest by proportional representation.

In its efforts to urge the citizens of Armenia to vote for the proposed constitution in the Dec. 6 national referendum, the ARF Supreme Body of Armenia published a promotional pamphlet outlining the reasons for the party’s support of the constitutional reforms. The pamphlet presents some of the flaws of the current system and the advantages of the new constitution. The party has also been actively campaigning for the reforms throughout the country.

The pamphlet can be accessed in full here (PDF in Armenian)


Source: Armenian Weekly
Link: Demonstrations against Constitutional Reforms Held in Yerevan

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