Armenia’s next president to be elected on March 2

ARKA, Armenia
Jan 15 2018

YEREVAN, January 15, /ARKA/. Armenia’s next president (the fourth since it gained independence from former Soviet Union in 1991) will most likely be elected on March 2 by the parliament of the country, the head of the parliamentary faction of the ruling Republican Party of Armenia Vahram Baghdasaryan told journalists on Monday.

Baghdasaryan said the faction has not yet decided who to propose as a possible candidate for the presidency, adding that the party will begin discussions on this issue this week. "This week we are planning to discuss possible candidates, and if they are approved, we will present them to the public," Baghdasaryan said.

He recalled that, according to the Constitution, the presidential candidate should be non-partisan. This means that in case of nomination of a candidate from the governing party, he/she will have to renounce party membership. Baghdasaryan said also that the party did not yet discuss any possible candidacy as a prime minister.

According to the new Constitution, the president of Armenia is elected by the National Assembly not earlier than forty, and not later than thirty days before the end of the powers of the incumbent head of state.

In fact, the candidates for the presidency should be nominated during the last ten days of February 2018. At least one quarter of the total number of deputies has the right to nominate a presidential candidate. The nomination is expected to start on February 19. 

Under a package of constitutional reforms, endorsed in a national referendum in 2015, Armenia will change the governance system of the country from a semi-presidential to a parliamentary republic in 2018 April after president Sargsyan steps down.

The president of Armenia, whose powers will be significantly curtailed, will be elected for a term of seven years (instead of the current five) by the parliament, not in a national vote. Presidents will be limited to one term of office. 

To be elected in the first round the candidate must be backed by three-fourths of votes. If this cannot be done, the candidate must be elected by three-fifths of votes.  According to the new constitution, the president of Armenia will be head of state, embodying national unity and ensuring the observance of the Constitution. The president cannot be a member of a political party.

Under the approved changes the president is to appoint a candidate for prime minister from the party or party bloc that wins parliamentary elections. If parliamentary forces are unable to agree on the candidacy of the head of government, parliament is to be dissolved. A vote of no-confidence in the prime minister can be passed no sooner than a year after their appointment.

The armed forces are subordinated to the government, and the prime minister is the supreme commander of the armed forces in times of war.-0—0–

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