THIS WEEK IN ARMENIAN HISTORY
Prepared by the Armenian National Education Committee (ANEC)
The Constitution of the Republic of Armenia
(July 5, 1995)
Three years before the American Revolution, in 1773, a book called Որոգայթ փառաց (“Vorokayt parats,” The Snare of Glory) was published in Madras (India). It reflected the thoughts and projects of a group of intellectuals known as the “Madras Group.” Its author was Hagop Shahamirian, who, for the first time in Armenian history, called for a “constitutional republic” as the best way of maintaining democracy and equality in the free Armenia of his dream. He also attached a project of Constitution for a republican and free Armenia.
The first Republic of Armenia, despite its democratic institutions, did not have enough time to draft and pass a Constitution. The Armenian Soviet Socialist Republic had two Constitutions, in 1936 and 1978, which logically replicated the Constitution of the Soviet Union.
Independence came in 1991 and with it, the need to have a basic document that outlined the organization of the new state and the rights and duties of its citizens. Initially, the Constitution of 1978 remained in effect, except in those cases when legislation had superseded it. A draft constitution was presented in late 1992 by the government. A long struggle between the government and the opposition alternative drafts ensued. The final project of Constitution was voted in a nationwide referendum and approved on July 5, 1995, which became Constitution Day in Armenia. A new referendum amended the Constitution on November 27, 2005.
The Constitution is composed of nine chapter and 117 articles. Its preamble says:
“The Armenian people — recognizing as a basis the fundamental principles of the Armenian statehood and the pan-national aspirations enshrined in the Declaration on the Independence of Armenia, having fulfilled the sacred behest of its freedom-loving ancestors for the restoration of the sovereign state, committed to the strengthening and prosperity of the fatherland, with a view to ensuring the freedom of generations, general well-being and civic solidarity, assuring the faithfulness to universal values — hereby adopt the Constitution of the Republic of Armenia.”
Click here to view the Constitution of the Republic of Armenia.