Referendums in Armenia: Decreasing Population, Increasing Voters

constitution Armenian voters to go to the polls on December 6 in a nationwide referendum on constitutional amendments.

According to an October 8 presidential decree, the referendum for constitutional amendments will take place on December 6, 2015.

This constitutional referendum will be the fourth in the history of independent Armenia. CivilNet looks back at the history of previous referendums – the official figures (numbers) of eligible voters and the number of voters who participated.

The Constitution is adopted or amended through a referendum, by the initiative of the president of the republic or the National Assembly.

The law on referendums was adopted in 2001 and was amended several times.

According to the amendment of the law adopted on June 10, 2015, the draft of the constitution to be voted upon via a referendum is considered adopted if more than half of the participants vote in favor of the draft, but not less than one quarter of all registered voters. Prior to this change, it was necessary to have the approval of one-third of registered voters.

The first Constitution of an independent Armenian republic was adopted on July 5, 1995, with 68 percent of the eligible electorate – 828 370 people, voting in favor of it.

In 2003, a referendum for constitutional amendments was initiated for the first time, however, only half of the 2,339,704 eligible voters participated. The package of Constitutional amendments was not adopted by a difference of 7430 between for and against votes: 559 687 voted yes and 552, 257 voted no.

A new referendum was held for a package of constitutional amendments in 2005, resulting in the approval of the amendments, with 93 percent of participants voting “yes.” According to official data, 65 percent – 1,514,307 eligible voters participated in the election.

During the first constitutional referendum in 1995, the official number of Armenia’s population was 3,753, 500, while the number of eligible voters was 2,189,804. Twenty years later, in 2015, Armenia’s population decreased by 726,621 people, while the number of eligible voters saw an increase of 338,018 people.

Armenia’s President Serzh Sargsyan established a commission on constitutional reforms by a presidential decree on September 4, 2013. The commission presented the concept paper of Constitutional reforms on October 15, 2014 and approved the final draft of constitutional amendments on August 20, 2015.

According to the last census held in 2011, the country’s permanent population was 3,018,854 people, of which 2,322,747 were adults.

At the beginning of 2015, the permanent population number calculated on the basis of the 2011 census was 3,010,598 people, a decrease of 8256 people compared to 2011, while the number of adults 2,320,337.

According to the list of voters released by the police, as of November 6 the number of eligible voters in Armenia is 2,554,332 persons, that is, the number of voters has increased by 233,995 voters since the beginning of 2015.

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