Armenia votes to give president's powers to prime minister

Early results of Armenia’s referendum on proposed constitutional changes that aims to give more powers to prime minister and parliament show voters have supported regulation

Photo by: AP
Photo by: AP

Armenian President Serge Sarkisian is sworn in during his inauguration ceremony in Yerevan, Armenia, Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Armenian voters proved at Sunday's referendum that they supported constitutional regulations that would give more authority to the prime minister and parliament at the expense of the president who would become a largely figurehead.

In a statement by Armenia's Central Election Commission early on Monday, 63 percent of voters have supported the amendments that would make the president extensively a figurehead.

Opposition parties represented in parliament support the reform, as they believe it will give them a greater say in how the country is governed.

However, the more radical opposition has strongly criticized the proposed changes and has held a number of protests that have brought a few thousand people onto the streets.

Sargsyan has objected the opponents’ allegations, saying he is not planning to shift into the prime minister's seat when his second term in his position ends in 2018.

Sargsyan's government targets to provide an equilibrium of powers and a more stable judicial system by taking a step toward strengthening democracy in the former Soviet state.

Under the aimed regulations in Armenia’s constitution, the president will be elected by the parliament, not by popular vote.

The winner would stay in the position for seven years instead of five which is the current procedure, but would only have largely ceremonial powers.

Most of the role's current powers would pass to the prime minister and parliament.

TRTWorld and agencies