One Year of Armen Sarkissian’s Presidency

Արմեն Սարգսյան և Նիկոլ Փաշինյան, Հանրապետության հրապարակ, Ապրիլի 21, 2018թ. Լուսանկարը` Ֆոտոլուրի

April 9 marks one year that Armen Sarkissian assumed the office of the president of Armenia. On that day in 2018, President-elect Armen Sarkissian assumed the office of President of the Republic of Armenia at the special sitting of RA National Assembly. Being the only candidate for the presidency, on March 2, he was elected the fourth president with 90 votes for and 10 votes against. Hence, he becomes the first president of the Republic of Armenia elected by the parliamentary system.

Unlike the previous three Presidents of RA, powers of President Armen Sarkissian are restricted under the terms of the Constitution approved in 2015 and the amended laws in favour of the Prime Minister. Ampop Media wrote about it last year.

This time, Ampop Media discussed with the political analysts what were the main functions of President Sarkissian, and what made him prominent for the public within a year.

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Hereinafter Without Powers: The Post of the President of Armenia

The newly-appointed president as a delegate and peacemaker

On the day of accepting the proposal to run for presidency, Armen Sarkissian noted that one of his main duties is to contribute to the consolidation of national unity, the need of which was obvious still on the first days of his office.

In April, 2018  thousands of citizens, joining the leader of the opposition ″Civil Contract″ party, MP Nikol Pashinyan and his teammates, began nationwide protest actions demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Serzh Sargsyan. On April 21, President Sarkissian went to the Republic Square to negotiate with Nikol Pashinyan.

As a result of the agreement between the President and Nikol Pashinyan, the next day, on April 22, Serzh Sargsyan – Nikol Pashinyan meeting took place, which did not come to a discussion phase, as Serzh Sargsyan left the meeting place. And the next day, on April 23, Serzh Sargsyan resigned.

Armen Sarkissian met Nikol Pashinyan for the second time to loosen the domestic political tension after the resignation of Serzh Sargsyan.

Photo Courtesy of President.am

″Armen Sarkissian’s main investment in the loosening process of domestic political tension is his participation as a stabilization factor,″says political analytic Hrant Mikaelyan. According to him, Armen Sarkissian, being elected during the period of former authorities, was able to keep his post due to these intermediary efforts.

The political scientist also mentions that the president was elected for a seven-year term and the new authorities had no intention to make any illegal steps, as he had no conflict with them. Mikayelyan emphasizes Armen Sarkissian’s international broad connections, too, which gradually become more and more visible and can serve in favour of Armenia, though the economic benefits of these connections are not vivid yet.

The official welcoming ceremony of President of Georgia Salome Zourabichvili at the RA Presidential Palace, March 13, 2019; Photo Courtesy of President.am

In the opinion of political analyst Manvel Sargsyan the international meetings of the President may seem insignificant at first, but important issues are  being solved, in fact.

Foreign Relations

Armen Sarkissian represented Armenia at a number of international events over the past year. In September, 2018, the president participated in the summit of Minds as a keynote speaker in the French town of Chamonix. 300 representatives of 28 countries discussed the opportunities of making investment and strategic decisions in the modern world.

A month later, President Sarkissian represented Armenia  at the annual session of the “Homeland and Global Security” conference of the Crans Montana Forum in GenevaSwitzerland.

President Armen Sarkissian was on official visit at the Future Summit conference held in the United Arab Emirates. He was again the keynote speaker.

Foreign Visits

The agenda of Armen Sarkissian’s state and working trips is usually full of meetings with the representatives of science and technology centers. His working visit to Germany in February, was full of numerous meetings.

He made 14 foreign visits during one year of his tenure.

Here, besides meetings with the representatives of well-known scientific-educational and industrial centers, Sarkissian also met with a number of high-ranking officials – the presidents of Albania, Serbia, Latvia, Qatar Sheikh, Executive Director of the UN World Food Program and others.

The analysts says, such a large-scale activity of the president is still in the framework of its constitutionally mandated powers.

Domestic Inconveniences and Reasons

The main messages of the president’s speech about global security threats at the Crans Montana Forum, were built on quantum theory. The same intention is noticed in his other speeches,too.

Political scientist Hrant Mikaelyan states that the reason for referring to math theories instead of numerous theories of political science is the lack of knowledge and experience in the political field.

Manvel Sargsyan also noticed the lack of appropriate experience. He assures that diplomatic work can not make a person a serious political player if he is not a politician.

According to Manvel Sargsyan, the factors of being far from RA domestic political life for many years and being out of the revolutionary wave prevent the president from being more influential in the country.

Political technologist Armen Badalyan notes that the Constitution does not allow him to take practical steps in the domestic life, but he is a part of it by participating in the meetings with the purpose of investments.

The interlocutors agree that Armen Sarkissian managed to have a high reputation in the wide public circles in spite of having restricted participation in both domestic and foreign activities.

Courtesy of  President.am

However, Hrant Mikaelyan notes: ″Though he has managed to maintain a high reputation in the wide public circles, in the narrow political and expert circles there is some mistrust. The reason is that his position and goals are still unclear on important issues.″

According to the political scientist, another reason for accepting the President with some reservations are his family businesses, which suppose dependence on the outside world.

By Lilit Poghosyan

Translated by Mary Grigoryan

For Armenian original CLICK HERE

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First Published: 27/03/2019