In response to Vahan Zanoyan’s article about the Armenian Constitution.
These are extremely critical times for Armenia, and, unfortunately, much that is going on in the region is out of its control, and yet it will influence the country in a profound way.
Many countries face regional developments which they did not start and they do not control – that part is not unique to Armenia. But a well-prepared government can still manage the consequences of these developments through a competent military, effective diplomacy, a number of solid strategic alliances where they have as much to give as to receive, proficient regional intelligence, a competitive economy, and good internal governance. Unfortunately, at the moment, Armenia has none, and therein lies the critical problem.
The involvement of Diasporan-Armenians in governance is crucial, while access to public responsibilities based on citizenship is so far restricted. Although some justifications are relevant in theory, they do not seem valid in the Armenian case – loss of human resources, irrelevance of these rules in the context of the Armenian history etc…
The result is the ousting of the diaspora in favor of local actors. The fear of “foreign influence” as well as the desire to keep the monopoly of power can explain this state of affairs.
A few years ago, Algeria amended its constitution to restrict access to the presidential office by imposing residency requirements and a ban on dual citizenship.
At the other end of the spectrum, Quebec had a former Prime Minister who held French citizenship (through his wife). No one ever accused him of promoting the interests of France at the expense of Quebec or Canada…
In any case, the amendment of the Constitution is not a trivial act. Such an amendment should be the final step of a collective project (which does not exist at the moment). Moreover, it should imply a sincere adhesion of the political elite, encompassing the government and the opposition, as well as the people.
The involvement of Diasporan-Armenians in the governance of Armenia is indeed crucial.