Armenian President, for the first time, refuses to sign bills passed by Parliament
Armenian President Armen Sargsyan has challenged the country’s parliament. On February 6, the president refused to sign amendments to laws that have already been passed by the National Assembly.
Armen Sargsyan doubted the constitutionality of the amendments introduced in the two laws, and appealed to the Constitutional Court to clarify this issue.
The move came as a surprise for both parliamentarians and the whole of society.
The fact is that after the country’s transition to a parliamentary form of government, the president no longer has the same powers, the head of state is now the prime minister. And the presidency is more a representative figure.
According to a poll conducted at the end of 2019 by GALLUP International, President Sargsyan was recognized as one of the most popular politicians.
Commenting on this rating for JAMnews, political analyst Hrant Mikayelyan, in particular, said:
“He [Armen Sargsyan] does not express his position on any of the political issues, does not clash with anyone and does not hurt anyone. Accordingly, there are few reasons not to love him.”
So what happened?
For the first time, Armenian President Armen Sargsyan used his right not to sign the amendments and additions to the laws “On Bank Secrecy” and “Code of Criminal Procedure” adopted by Parliament. This is stated on its official website.
Until now, the law allowed law enforcement agencies to obtain banking information only of suspected and accused citizens. If the amendments proposed by the parliament become law, the investigating authorities will have access to the accounts of those people who are associated with persons under suspicion.
The President doubts that such changes are consistent with the constitution. To clarify this issue, he appealed to the Constitutional Court.
Experts: “The President is right, amendments may be dangerous for the economy”
During the discussion of amendments in parliament, many economists opposed their introduction into the law, since it is dangerous for the financial and economic system.
“If the law is constantly in force, it can reduce the already weakened flow of investments,” said Samvel Chzmachyan, deputy chairman of the Financial and Banking Association of Euro-Asian Cooperation, former head of the Union of Banks of Armenia.
According to the former deputy of the National Assembly of Armenia, economist Vardan Bostanjyan, the proposed changes will cause an outflow of capital from the country.
There is another opinion. The economist, the head of the Alternative research center, Professor Tatul Manaseryan, believes that serious justification is necessary for revealing bank and financial information, but in some cases this is quite acceptable – for example, “when other options for resolving the issue are no longer possible.”
“No country could enter the top ten or two of the list of countries fighting corruption if it were not possible to open bank accounts where there is serious evidence,” Manaseryan said.