On May 2, “Hraparak” daily published an article titled “PAP threatens with snap elections”, which is widely disseminated by a number of news websites.
Referring to its source from the PAP, the author of the article writes that MPs from the PAP will all put down their mandates upon instruction by PAP leader Gagik Tsarukyan. Then he asks an anonymous constitutional law expert what consequences this act may have.
According to the anonymous constitutional law expert, the parliament will become anti-constitutional if PAP deputies put down their mandates since the opposition will not have ⅓ of the seats, and that situation will lead to snap parliamentary elections.
However, it should be noted that the statements of this constitutional law expert do not correspond to reality.
The Constitution of the Republic of Armenia clearly stipulates all the cases when the National Assembly can be dissolved. In particular, the National Assembly shall be dissolved if it fails to elect Prime Minister twice, or if it does not approve the government program twice.
The Constitution does not stipulate cases when the National Assembly can be dissolved because of putting down mandates. Moreover, it is not stipulated by the Constitution that the opposition shall make up ⅓ of Parliament. It is regulated by the Electoral Code, according to which additional mandates shall be provided to the opposition during the distribution of mandates so as the total number of their mandates is not less than ⅓ of the total number of mandates of the National Assembly (Article 96).
This, however, does not mean that the opposition should always have at least ⅓ of mandates. In other words, if the number of opposition deputies decreases or increases in the National Assembly, the National Assembly cannot become anti-constitutional.
And finally, if the Constitution and the Electoral Code legally allowed to hold extraordinary parliamentary elections in the event of refusal from mandates, that process would have been possible in the autumn of 2018, when the National Assembly was looking for mechanisms to dissolve the National Assembly.