The Armenian Assembly of America (Assembly) congratulates the people of Artsakh on the 88% approval of its new constitution on February 20, Artsakh Revival Day. This is the third referendum held in Artsakh, with a turnout of 79,314 voters – about 76.44% of citizens registered to vote.
“The Armenian Assembly applauds the Republic of Artsakh for exercising its fundamental rights and adopting this new constitution, which maintains basic human rights for its citizens,” Assembly Co-Chairs Anthony Barsamian and Van Krikorian said.
The Monday referendum updates the Artsakh Constitution with norms that further strengthen the democratic process, create more effective mechanisms guaranteeing fundamental human rights and freedoms, secure the independence of the judiciary and of the institutions of local government, and enhance direct democracy for the people of Artsakh. This referendum changes the form of government from semi-presidential to fully presidential and calls for presidential and parliamentary elections to be held every five years. In addition, citizens voted on officially restoring the Republic of Nagorno Karabakh – the Russified name of the region – to the historical Armenian name of Artsakh.
Artsakh Republic Proves Its Democracy is Superior to Azerbaijan’s Dictatorship
“This new constitution represents hope. The civilian population has endured unjustifiable and horrendous attacks since the late 1980s, which continue and escalate today despite signed cease-fire agreements. Yet in the middle of that war, Armenians continue to educate their children, build a better society, foster the arts, and remain faithful as a part of the first Christian nation. Artsakh is a full-fledged democracy in complete contrast to the repressive Aliyev regime of Azerbaijan which continues to seek to resolve disputes by eliminating the Armenians,” Assembly’s Yerevan Office Regional Director Arpi Vartanian stated.
After voting himself, President Bako Sahakyan said: “the new Constitution Referendum is a progressive step in our state-building process expressing confidence that the referendum, as any such event in our state, would be held in a free and transparent manner, in full correspondence with international norms and principles.”
Parliamentarians, diplomats, political figures, lawyers, civil society representatives, and journalists from all over the world, such as the United States, Germany, France, and the United Kingdom among others, monitored the elections in Artsakh. The international observers agreed that the vote was conducted democratically. European Union Member of Parliament Eleni Theocharous, one of the observers, added: “Here in Artsakh I see prosperity and progress. Democracy and freedom must first of all be protected. I am happy to see the government of the country exert every possible effort to raise the living standard of the population and to develop the country.”
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