Prime Minister addresses gap between citizen and state, discusses possibility of new constitution

 19:32, 1 February 2024

YEREVAN, FEBRUARY 1, ARMENPRESS. During an interview on the "Safe Environment" program of Public Radio Armenia, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan outlined the reasons for the need to have a new Constitution. The Prime Minister reminded that even after the 2018 Revolution and the 44-Day War in 2020, the topic of a new Constitution has remained a recurring theme. Pashinyan noted that discussions on constitutional reforms are currently widespread and expressed the necessity of adopting a new constitution.

The Prime Minister emphasized that recently he has also been talking a lot about the relationship between the concepts of the motherland and the state; he has been talking a lot about the need to strengthen state institutions. According to him, by and large, the popular, non-violent, Velvet Revolution of 2018 was also about citizen-state relations, citizen-state relations, about de jure and de facto social and labor relations.

"We have a gap between the citizen and the state. What is that gap? It is expressed in legitimacy because the Constitution of the Republic of Armenia, adopted in 1995 and modified several times, was never adopted under conditions and an environment where the citizen of the Republic of Armenia could say to himself: 'I went, voted, and adopted the Constitution.' In other words: "I went and recorded my agreement with other citizens and the state, that we relate to each other this way and live this way.'

Today, there are many  notions that we use, and analysts and intellectuals very often talk about the fact that we are not a state people; we have not yet become a state nation, having been a nation without a state for a long time. This narrative exists, but I don't want to go into the details of it. However, I want us to understand something else- Which is the moment when we are transformed from a ‘non-state people’ into a ‘state people?’ That moment is the constitutional referendum, when a person, of his own free will, without coercion, without falsification, without manipulation, goes and fixes the agreement," said the Prime Minister.

The Prime Minister emphasized the importance of the Constitution having an organic connection with the people.

"The organic connection with the people is not only expressed by the fact that we have to discuss, understand all the nuances, and remove all the formulations. The text of the constitution is mostly a matter of professional discussion and wording to serve the political guidelines, but the genetic link with the state, the genetic link with the people is formed from the moment when the people accept and confirm this condition, and record that they are 'a state people' and record that within the borders of this state, we will relate to each other according to these rules," said Pashinyan.

According to the Prime Minister's perspective, the necessity for a new Constitution is rooted in the genetic link aiming to bridge the gap between the people and the state. 

Pashinyan  gave a positive response to the question of whether it will legitimize the relations between the state and the people. He emphasized that legitimacy is  important in all relationships.

The Prime Minister also emphasized that the government cannot change the Constitution. The government can propose to the people, engage in discussions with the people, present its explanations to the people, and only the people can make that decision.

Referring to the opinions and speculations that the government will falsify the voting, Pashinyan reminded that dozens of elections have been held in Armenia after the 2018 Revolution.

"Let them show a single case of falsification that took place during the elections. Going that way would mean destroying our own political identity. It is impossible," added Pashinyan.