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“Serzh Sargsyan is Not President”: Impeachment Bill Discussed in Parliament

Today, National Assembly MP Nikol Pashinyan presented a draft in the Standing Committee of State & Legal Issues titled “On the Impeachment of Serzh Sargsyan occupying the office of President of the Republic of Armenia.” Last December, only 3 MPs had signed under the draft. 

This time, the MP had added another provision to the draft. During the committee meeting he explained that Serzh Sargsyan’s recent speech during a Republican Party Council Meeting revealed that Sargsyan had also violated article 308 of the RA Criminal Code, abuse of official authority or duties by a state official for mercenary interests, personal, other interests or group interests. According to Pashinyan, Sargsyan’s speech revealed the fact that as President, he was informed about Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK) leader Gagik Tsarukyan’s business violations but did not investigate them. The MP stressed that Sargsyan also violated article 14.1 of the Constitution showing a discriminatory approach and sponsoring BHK, when the party’s activities fell within the domain of the Republican Party. 

Heritage party faction MP Zaruhi Postanjyan asked Nikol Pashinyan why he had not felt the necessity to also include in the impeachment draft Sargsyan’s signing of the Madrid principles, Armenia’s membership to the EEU (considered as state treason) and, along with 2008, the voting violations of the 2013 presidential elections.

Pashinyan said that if Postanjyan could formulate her stated points, he would definitely include them in the draft.

A few MPs came out to criticize the draft bill. Particularly, Armenian National Congress (HAK) faction MP Gagik Jhangiryan said, that as a lawyer, he believed Pashinyan’s draft about the President, from a legal perspective, was ignorant, and therefore he could not vote for it.

Pashinyan responded to Jhangiryan, saying, “I understand that your dream of becoming General Prosecutor was destroyed just one day ago, and it’s necessary for you to draw new plans for your dream, and today you took your first step, to which I congratulate you.”

During Pashinyan’s response, Jhangiryan left the hall.

Republican Party MP Vahram Mkrtchyan criticized the title of the draft. “Our Constitution does not envisage such a thing. It could have been called “On the Impeachment of the President of the Republic of Armenia.” Therefore, this discussion shouldn’t even be taking place,” said the MP.

Responding to the criticism, Pashinyan defended the draft’s title, saying that he does not consider Serzh Sargsyan a president.

“All these people, including Jhangiryan and his party members, have begun to accept Serzh Sargsyan as the President of the Republic. I have and continue to say that I do not recognize and will not recognize Serzh Sargsyan as the President of the Republic of Armenia. Even to subject him to impeachment. Serzh Sargsyan is not the President of the Republic of Armenia; he is a man occupying the office of the President of the Republic of Armenia. If Jhangiryan and his colleagues, who write letters to “honorable Serzh Sargsyan”, recognize Serzh Sargsyan as the Republic’s President, then that’s their issue. Let them write open letters, write private letters, interact via confidential communication channels, they can do whatever they want,” said Pashinyan.

Note that the draft bill was voted for by only Zaruhi Postanjyan, 5 MPs voted against, therefore the draft will not pass to the National Assembly’s general hearing. After the committee meeting Pashinyan told journalists that if any MP, including Gagik Jhangiryan, proposed a draft bill for Serzh Sargsyan’s impeachment, he would sign it without any discussions.