Armenians voted in a referendum to boost the prime minister’s powers, results showed on Monday, a move supporters say will bolster stability but opponents warn will entrench the ruling party’s control over the ex-Soviet state. Observers from the Council of Europe rights group reported problems with the voting lists and other irregularities, and said that the low turnout suggested many voters saw Sunday’s referendum as a piece of political maneuvering. The ruling Republican party, which called the vote, said minor violations could not affect the result.
The changes, due to come into force after elections in May 2017, will broadly curb the role of the historically-powerful president and give more authority to the prime minister and parliament.
The opposition says the changes are a ruse to let President Serzh Sarksyan slip into an enhanced prime ministerial role at the head of the Republican Party after his presidential term ends in 2018. He has regularly denied this.
Full Article: Armenian Vote Boosts PM’s Powers, Opposition Cries Foul.