There is no single opinion among the international observers over the referendum on amending the Constitution of Armenia, held on December 6. The observers from the CIS countries, including Russia, have declared that the referendum met all the international standards, but U.S. Ambassador to Armenia, Richard Mills, and representatives of the European monitoring organizations have questioned the legitimacy of the referendum results, saying that it was held with numerous violations, and calling on the Armenian authorities to investigate all the suspected cases. Armenia is a sovereign state and has the full right to submit to a referendum any matter concerning the future of the country. In this sense, other countries do not have the right to dictate Armenia to hold referendums or not to, — says Alexey Martynov, Head of the International Institute of Newest States. «The only criterion for evaluation may be the state’s legislation in regards to a referendum. And, according to the Armenian legislation, the referendum was held completely. Another question is that in such events there are always a certain number of violations, but usually they do not have a systematic character and can’t influence the outcome of the referendum, » told RUSARMINFO Alexey Martynov. According to the expert, such statements by U.S. ambassadors in various countries and representatives of the European institutions are not new. Martynov talks about the example of Russia, where the electoral system for the past 20 years has passed a difficult path of development and on a variety of characters is one of the most advanced in the world. But, nevertheless, every time when elections are held in Russia, the U.S. Ambassador in Moscow and other Westerners express their dissatisfaction and talk about violations. «And we answer them; it’s enough to teach us. We are a sovereign country and we know how to conduct elections. This fully applies to Armenia. The Armenian statehood and all democratic traditions in Armenia have history of more than one thousand years. Even in the ancient times, the Armenian state, despite the monarchy, had elements of direct democracy. In my opinion, Armenia does not need estimates of external controllers such as the U.S. ambassador or representatives of the European institutions,» said Alexey Martynov. According to the expert, Armenia is a mature state, able to carry out sovereign referenda when it’s required and based on the political situation. Note: The referendum in Armenia indicates the transition from a presidential to a parliamentary form of government. The initiator of the changes is President Serzh Sargsyan. The opposition considers the new constitution as a possibility for the reproduction of Serzh Sargsyan’s regime, and demands to cancel the results, claiming that the referendum was fabricated. According to the official data, more than 60% of voters said «yes» to the new Constitution.
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