Statement of NGOs on the Conformity of RA Presidential Candidate to the Requirements of the Constitution

According to the amendments made to the Constitution of the Republic of Armenia on December 6, 2015, the President of the Republic shall be the head of the State. The President of the Republic shall observe the compliance with the Constitution. In the course of exercising his or her powers, the President of the Republic shall be impartial and shall be guided exclusively by state-wide and nation-wide interests. The President of the Republic shall perform his or her functions through the powers prescribed by the Constitution (RA Constitution, Article 123).

Serzh Sargsyan, President of the Republican Party of Armenia, nominated Armen Sargsyan, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Armenia to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland as presidential candidate. In case the information about the candidate circulated by the mass media is true, the latter does not correspond to the requirements of the Constitution the President of the Republic and cannot serve as the head of the Republic of Armenia and observe the compliance with the Constitution of the Republic of Armenia.

In particular,

·         According to RA Constitution, everyone having attained the age of forty, having held citizenship of only the Republic of Armenia for the preceding six years, having been permanently residing in the Republic of Armenia for the preceding six years, having the right of suffrage and having command of the Armenian language may be elected as President of the Republic.

According to the findings of the investigative network of journalists, according to a report by his company in the Companies House Register of British companies, Armen Sargsyan was still a citizen of Great Britain in June 2014. In other words, in case of his candidacy, the requirement to having held citizenship of only the Republic of Armenia for the preceding six years is not ensured.

·         Many businesses are connected with the name of Armen Sargsyan, though he, being the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Armenia to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, did not have the right to engage in entrepreneurial activity in accordance with the Law on Public Service. There is no official information that he had entrusted his business or his participation in them (equity, stock, share) to trust management, to ensure the law requirement.
 

·         According to the RA Law on Public Service, high-ranking officials are required to submit a property and income statement to the Ethics Committee of High-ranking Officials annually. RA Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Armen Sargsyan, as a high-ranking official, did not submit an annual Property and Income Statement in 2013, and the other annual statements submitted by him and his wife do not contain income declarations. However, it is evident that he had at least income from the diplomatic representative's salary, as well as from various businesses.

Taking into account the above mentioned and attaching importance to the public's trust in the President of the Republic of Armenia, we consider that the presidential candidate is obliged to dispel the public's suspicions about his unlawful behavior by presenting substantiated and grounded refutations. Otherwise, the future guarantor of the Constitution, who has not held the position yet, is already in the status of a violator of the Constitution.

On the basis of the above, we require that Armen Sargsyan publicly presents:

1. An official reference to verify the time when he ceased his British citizenship.

2. An official reference on handing over its business to trust management.

3. His and his wife’s income (including business), as well as justification of the reason why they did not announce them since 2013.

Transparency International Anti-Corruption Center

Helsinki Citizens' Assembly Vanadzor Office

“Aspares” Journalists’ Club

Helsinki Committee of Armenia

Women's Resource Center

Union of Informed Citizens

Protection of Rights without Borders NGO

Public Journalism Club

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