After the sitting of the RA Republican Party Executive Body on March 29, 2018, the NA Deputy Speaker and Republican Party Spokesperson Eduard Sharmazanov commented on the statement of the head of the “Yelk” faction Nikol Pashinyan. Pashinyan had stated that in their fight against Serzh Sargsyan’s attempt to become the prime minister, if needed, they would even block the parliamentarians’ entrance to the parliament, so that the latter could not vote. In his comment, Sharmazanov noted that no one has the right to deprive him of his constitutional right to vote, and all anti-constitutional and illegal actions are unacceptable. He also said, “The main criterion of democracy is legitimacy.”
Not legitimacy, but rule of law.
Nevertheless, in fact, legitimacy is not the main criterion of democracy, the rule of law is. Legitimacy is one of the main criteria. According to the principle of rule of law, no one can be higher than the law, and everyone is equal before the law. Nevertheless, the principle of rule of law is implemented selectively in Armenia.
As stated by international human rights organization Freedom House, the judicial power in Armenia is corrupt and is under political pressure, while the authorities apply the law selectively. In other words, the law enforcement bodies of Armenia, under the supervision of the executive power, arbitrarily determines how the ordinary citizen or, for example, the member of the executive body of the Republican Party, should be punished for the same offense.
There are many cases known in history when the law itself was anti-democratic. For instance, in the United States of America in the 19th century, slavery was lawful. Restrictions on the rights of Armenians in Ottoman Turkey were also legal. During Stalin’s dictatorship, the mass destruction and exile of the Armenian intelligentsia was also based on legitimacy- everything was done by law. In North Korea, it is now enshrined in law that those who have haircuts that are different from the ones approved by the authorities, should be exiled to corrective labor camps. Consequently, legitimacy is not always democracy. In other words, Eduard Sharmazanov, distorting the concepts, for political purposes tries to present the law as the main indicator of democracy.