Ararat M. Hakobyan
Key words – Constitution, Parliament, Sh. Shahamiryan, government, party, opposition, Democratic Republic, H. Kajaznuni, A. Sahakyan, agenda, Armenian assembly, proportional voting system, legislative and executive authorities, Bureau of the Board.
The idea of parliamentarianism has deep roots in Armenia, since the 18th century, when on the initiative of Sh. Shahamiryan and his party in Madras the work “Trap of ambition” was made up that is estimated as constitution. However, the parliamentary system of government was first implemented during the First Republic of Armenia.
RA parliamentary history can be divided into three stages. The first stage covers the period of the first convocation of the Board of Armenia from August 1, 1918 until the end of April in 1919, when the Parliament was the supreme organ of state power and its jurisdiction included not only legislative, but also part of the executive, administrative and even judicial functions. In the absence of the constitution and the presidency, the prime minister was considered to be the first official figure who, together with his cabinet, was elected by parliament and thus was accountable to the parliament and the latter could express trust or distrust with respect to the Prime Minister.
Armenian assembly was made of four political parties and none of them, including the ARF Dashkaktsutyun, formed a stable majority. This period can be regarded as democratic due to the formation of a coalition in the government (ARF and ADP), which ensured a stable majority for the smooth management of the country.
The 2nd stage of the parliamentary government of Armenia covers the second half of 1919 (from August 1) to May 5, 1920. At this stage, parliament and government were balancing each other. The overwhelming majority of the seats in the newly elected parliament belonged to the ARF Dashnaktsutyun (72 seats out of 80), and in these circumstances, the government again was elected by Parliament and was accountable to it. The ruling party ARF was a link between the government and the ARF Bureau.
The situation changed dramatically during the third stage (May-November 1920). After external and internal threats hovered over the republic (the May speech of Bolsheviks in 1920, the escalation of Turkish-Tatar disorders, the ultimatum of the Revolutionary Committee of Azerbaijan to Armenia, etc.), ARF Bureau had to take control of the country with all the staff (7 members and 3 candidates for membership of the party), while the Parliament was sent on forced leave for several months. It is quite difficult to speak of a parliamentary system of government at this stage.
Nevertheless, though during its short political life the First Republic (2.5 years) bore unusually difficult conditions, both external and internal threats, the lack of a constitution, as well as the lack of management experience and weak opposition and could not properly introduce the idea of parliamentarianism, one can be sure that during the Third Republic these ideas are going to be finally materialized and implemented.