The presidential candidate of the Republic of Armenia must comply with the requirements of the Constitution
According to the Constitution of the Republic of Armenia amended on December 6, 2015, the President is the head of State and shall observe the compliance with the Constitution. The President shall be impartial and shall be guided exclusively by state-wide and nation-wide interests. He/she shall perform his/her functions through the powers prescribed by the Constitution (Article 123).
The leader of Republican Party of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan nominated Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Armenia to the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland Armen Sarkissian as a presidential candidate. Based on the information circulated in the mass media, Armen Sarkissian does not comply with the requirements of RA president, stipulated in the Constitution, so he cannot serve as the head of the Republic of Armenia and observe the compliance with the Constitution.
- According to the Constitution the president can be anyone who has attained the age of forty, holds citizenship of only the Republic of Armenia for the preceding six years, has permanently resided in the Republic of Armenia for the preceding six years, has the right of suffrage and has command of the Armenian language. According to the Investigative journalist’s network findings, the report filed for his own company in the British Companies House registry, still in June 2014 Armen Sarkissian was listed as a British national. Thus, he does not meet the requirement to hold citizenship of only the Republic of Armenia for the preceding six years.
- Armen Sarkissian's name is associated with many businesses, although he, as the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Armenia to the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland, did not have the right to be engaged in entrepreneurial activity as a high-ranking official under the RA Law on Public Service. There is no official information proving, that he had entrusted his business or his share in those businesses (equity, stock, share) to trust management in order to ensure compliance with of the law.
- According to the Law on Public Service of Armenia, the high-ranking officials, at assuming the office and later are required to submit their asset and income declarations on annual basis to the Commission on Ethics of High-ranking Officials. Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Armen Sarkissian, as a high-ranking official, did not submit his declaration on asset and income in 2013. In the next years’ declarations, neither he nor his wife mentioned their annual income. However, it is evident, that he at least had income from his salary as diplomatic representative, as well as had profit from various businesses.
Taking into consideration the above mentioned and attaching importance to public trust in the institution of 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 sound and substantial 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 mentioned, we demand that in a short term Armen Sarkissian publicly presents:
- an official document to verify the date of termination of his British citizenship;
- an official reference on handing over his businesses to the trust management;
- his and his wife’s incomes (including received from businesses), as well as justification on why they have not declared them since 2013.
An online petition was also started. You can join it by the following link https://goo.gl/63uVHY
Transparency International Anticorruption Center
Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly Vanadzor Office
Journalists’ Club "Asparez"
Helsinki Committee of Armenia
Women’s Resource Center
“Union of Informed Citizens” NGO
“Protection of Rights Without Borders” NGO
Public Journalism Club
Committee to Protect Freedom of Expression
Open Society Foundations - Armenia
Foundation Against the Violation of Law NGO
“Public Information and Need of Knowledge” NGO
"Center of Economic Right" NGO