Friday, November 04, 2005

Bad Constitutional Change Awaits Armenia

In 23 days (November 27th), Armenians will be going to vote yes or no on constitutional reforms.

Over on Oneworld Multimedia Onnik has done a good job of documenting and summarizing what is going on.

Some of the points that were brought out that concern me and others are:

1. There will only be a dozen international observers from the Council of Europe and no observers at all from the OSCE, as in order for the OSCE to participate, they need to be invited by the Armenian government and as of today, no such invitation has been extended.

A dozen observers could probably cover a couple of the hundreds of polling stations, meaning that there is a very good chance that the vote will be rigged as it has been in almost every election Armenia has had since independence.

2. There are two very illogical constitutional changes to be made, both are in relation to powers that the President will have.

a. The President will have the power to withdraw from boarders without consulting the nation in a referendum.

You have to ask why the President should have such powers? Is there a plan in the works to give some plan to Azerbaijan and someone knows good and well that in a national referendum, such a deal would be rejected? Maybe this is something the West is pushing for, knowing that if the President exercised his constitutional right, it would cause the revolution they are hoping for to really destabilize Armenia?

b. The President will be immune to prosecution, meaning that he will be legally beyond the law. This means that if there comes a need to charge him with economic or human rights violations (which there is already a need to do), he can only be dragged into an international court of law. In short, with this he would go unpunished for crimes that he committed and would most likely commit in the future.

Well let’s see what awaits us on November 27th? I personally hope that the NO votes win, as there needs to me much more public discussion on the proposed changes and also the OSCE need to be invited to monitor the elections.

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