Lawyer on army chief’s dismissal: Armenia’s president has ‘only two choices’ at this point

Public Radio of Armenia
Feb 27 2021

Lawyer Robert Hayrapetyan touched upon the powers of Armenia’s President Armen Sarkissian in connection with the proposed dismissal of Chief of the General Staff of the Armenian Armed Forces Onik Gasparyan.

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan’s order to sack the General Staff chief is subject to approval by the country’s president, who has three days to decide.

“According to Article 133 of the Constitution, upon recommendation of the prime minister, the president appoints and dismisses the supreme command of the armed forces and of other troops. The Constitution envisages a 3-day period for the president to sign such decrees,” he wrote on Facebook.

“The president received Pashinyan's proposal on 25 February, hence 28 February is the deadline for the president to sign the decree on Gasparyan’s dismissal.

“What can the president of the country do at this point, other than signing the decree? Article 139 of the Constitution authorizes the president to return the relevant act with his objections to Pashinyan within a period of three days. The president is not entitled to apply to the Constitutional Court at this stage. He must either sign the relevant decree or return it [to the competent authority, ed.] with his objections.

“If the premier does not accept the objections, the president either has to sign the decree to dismiss Gasparyan as General Staff chief or apply to the Constitutional Court.

“The president's powers to apply to the Constitutional Court arise only if Pashinyan does not accept the objections submitted by him. By the deadline, , President Armen Sarkissian has only two choices; to sign the decree on the dismissal of Onik Gasparyan or to return it to Nikol Pashinyan,” Hayrapetyan said. 

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