President Armen Sarkissian of Armenia has resigned. He issued a respective statement, whose unofficial English text is as follows.
The Statement of the President of the Republic Armen Sarkissian:
In the early 1990s, due to major geopolitical changes, our people acquired the greatest opportunity to create a proper independent state. Our mission was not to replace one flag with another but to upbuild a country that would once again ensure Armenians’ security, progress, and prosperity centuries later.
I emphasize that the primary meaning of an independent state’s existence is in the ability to take and bear responsibility realizing that only we, as a unity, are the creators of our victories and the authors of our defeats.
Like many of my compatriots, I was encouraged by this historical chance, so I dedicated my life to this mission. From time to time, the intensity of my activity changed for various reasons, but I did not stop believing in our ultimate national success. And this was the defining incentive for me to agree to take the office of the President of Armenia.
While making this crucial decision, I proceeded from the proposal made to me, according to which the new institution of the President would obtain tools and powers to influence foreign and foreign economic and investment policy as well as relations with the Diaspora. Moreover, these tools would also contribute to promoting national interests in the international community and forming a new scientific, educational and high-tech environment.
Sometime later, the events of April-May took place in 2018…
One may ask why I did not resign at that moment. The answer is quite apparent. I could not do that because of the responsibility that I took when I assumed the Office of the President of the Republic. I was obliged to do my best to prevent further aggravation of the internal split and possible clashes that could lead to highly negative consequences. I also strove to use the connections, authority, and international political and economic potential that I had been accumulating to construct a solid and stable statehood.
Again, the question may arise as to why the President had been unable to impact the political events that led us to the current national crisis. The reason has always been in plain sight. It happened because of the lack of appropriate tools that any government official is endowed with one document only – the Constitution. In the current fundamental law of the land, the roots of some of our troubles are hidden.
We have a paradoxical situation where the President performs the functions of the guarantor of statehood having no real tools. The current Constitution also implies the dominance of one institution over another and creates obstacles for prominent professionals from the Diaspora to participate in the management of their historical homeland’s state institutions.
We are a parliamentary republic in shape, but not in content. The point of my proposal was not to move from one form of government to another (from parliamentary to semi-presidential or presidential) but to create a state system based on the principle of checks and balances. It would be hard to talk about significant achievements without this since progress and success are possible only in a predictable and harmonious system.
I am glad that the Constitutional Reform Commission was established, and I express my gratitude to the Government for that. I hope that some constitutional changes will eventually occur, and the following President and the institution of the President will be able to function in a more balanced and systematized environment.
We live in a peculiar reality where the President cannot influence issues related to war and peace.
In a reality where he cannot veto those bills that he considers inappropriate for the state and people.
In a reality where the President’s capabilities are not perceived as an advantage for the state but are viewed as a threat to various political groups.
In a reality where the President cannot use a crucial part of his potential to solve systemic domestic and foreign policy issues.
In a reality where the world appears to be a zone of constant turbulence and the President does not have the constitutional tools to help his country.
In a reality where the head of state and sometimes even his family become targets for attacks by various political groups. Though they do not show much interest in the achievements of the institution of the President for the good of the country, they stay very focused on my past and all sorts of conspiracy theories and myths. This “concern” about my personality began to go beyond the bounds of morality, which has ultimately affected my health.
I thought it thoroughly and decided to resign from the position as the President of the Republic of Armenia after almost four years of active work.
This step of mine is entirely non-emotional and comes from a certain logic.
In the current challenging period for the state and the nation, the President does not have the necessary tools to influence the fundamental processes in domestic and foreign policy.
At this tough stage for our country, when there is an urgent need for national unity, the institution of the President should not become an object for gossip and conspiracy theories, thereby diverting public attention from the most critical issues.
More than ever, we require sensible, meaningful, and thoughtful action today. Otherwise, we – the Armenians worldwide – will not achieve the goal of our mission and will find ourselves on the sidelines of history.
No longer do we have the right to make mistakes!
In conclusion, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to our citizens and compatriots from the Diaspora for showing strong will, stamina, patience, and bravery during the hard times for the country.
I am especially thankful to the soldiers and officers of our courageous Armed Forces. I express my deepest condolences to the families of the fallen heroes who perished for the sake of our homeland.
I also thank all the employees of the Office of the President of Armenia and my partners in state bodies for productive cooperation.”