Browse the listing below to find government information for Armenia, including flags, leaders,
and constitution information. Factrover also has complete information on Armenia at its
Armenia Country Page.
Constitution: Approved in 1995 referendum.
Independence: 1918 (First Armenian Republic); 1991 (from Soviet Union).
Branches: Executive--president (head of state) with wider powers relative to other branches, prime minister (head of cabinet), Council of Ministers (cabinet). Legislative--unicameral National Assembly (parliament). Judicial--Constitutional Court.
Administrative subdivisions: 10 marzer (provinces) in addition to the city of Yerevan, which has the status of a province.
Political parties: Republican Party of Armenia, Armenian Peoples Party, Agro-Technical Peoples Union (formerly Stability Faction), Constitutional Rights Union, Armenian National Movement, National Democratic Union, Republic Party, Self Determination Union, Liberal Democratic Party, Ramkvar-Christian Democratic Party, Communist Party of Armenia, National Accord Party, Armenian Revolutionary Federation-Dashnaktsutyun, Country of Laws (Orinats Yerkir) Party, plus 84 registered marginal parties, many of which are now dormant.
Suffrage: Universal at 18.
GOVERNMENT AND POLITICAL CONDITIONS:
Armenians voted overwhelmingly for independence in a September 1991 referendum, followed by a presidential election in October 1991 that gave 83% of the vote to Levon Ter-Petrossian. Ter-Petrossian had been elected head of government in 1990, when the Armenian National Movement defeated the Communist Party. Ter-Petrossian was re-elected in 1996. Following public demonstrations against Ter-Petrossian's policies on Nagorno-Karabakh, the President resigned in January 1998 and was replaced by Prime Minister Robert Kocharian, who was elected President in March 1998. Following the assassination in Parliament of Prime Minister Vazgen Sargsian and parliament Speaker Karen Demirchian and six other officials, on October 27, 1999, a period of political instability ensued during which an opposition headed by elements of the former Armenian National Movement government attempted unsuccessfully to force Kocharian to resign. Kocharian was successful in riding out the unrest. Kocharian was re-elected in march 2003 in an election which the OSCE said fell short of international standards.
The unicameral parliament (also called the National Assembly) is dominated by a coalition, called "Unity" (Miasnutyun), between the Republican and Peoples Parties and the Agro-Technical Peoples Union, aided by numerous independents. Dashnaksutyun, which was outlawed by Ter-Petrossian in 1995-96 but legalized again after Ter-Petrossian resigned, also usually supports the government. A new party, the Republic Party, is headed by ex-Prime Minister Aram Sargsian, brother of the late Vazgen Sargsian, and has become the primary voice of the opposition, which also includes the communists, the National Accord Party of Artashes Geghamian, and elements of the former Ter-Petrossian government. Parliamentary elections will be held in May 2003.
The Government of Armenia's stated aim is to build a Western-style parliamentary democracy as the basis of its form of government. However, international observers have questioned the inherent fairness of parliamentary and presidential elections and constitutional referenda since 1995, citing polling deficiencies, lack of cooperation by the electoral commission, and poor maintenance of electoral lists and polling places. Observers noted, though, that opposition parties and candidates have been able to mount credible campaigns and proper polling procedures have been generally followed. Elections since 1998 have represented an improvement in terms of both fairness and efficiency, although they have not met international standards. The new constitution of 1995 greatly expanded the powers of the executive branch and gives it much more influence over the judiciary and municipal officials.
The observance of human rights in Armenia is uneven and is marked by serious shortcomings. Police brutality still goes largely unreported, while observers note that defendants are often beaten to extract confessions and are denied visits from relatives and lawyers. Public demonstrations usually take place without government interference, though one rally in November 2000 by an opposition party was followed by the arrest and imprisonment for a month of its organizer. Freedom of religion is not always protected under existing law. Nontraditional churches, especially the Jehovah's Witnesses, have been subjected to harassment, sometimes violently. All churches apart from the Armenian Apostolic Church must register with the government, and proselytizing is forbidden by law. The government's policy toward conscientious objection is in transition, as part of Armenia's accession to the Council of Europe. Most of Armenia's ethnic Azeri population fled the country in 1988-89 and remain refugees, largely in Azerbaijan. Armenia's record on discrimination toward the few remaining national minorities is generally good. The government does not restrict internal or international travel. Although freedom of the press and speech are guaranteed, the government maintains its monopoly over television and radio broadcasting.