At least 3,000 Armenians protest against referendum on constitution

By bne IntelliNews December 2, 2015

At least 3,000 protesters gathered in the Armenian capital of Yerevan on December 1 to protest against a referendum to change the constitution, according to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL).

The demonstration was organised by the New Armenia opposition movement and began on central Freedom Square. Protesters marched down Yerevan's main streets, shouting slogans and holding signs demanding that President Serzh Sargsyan resign. Opposition leader Raffi Hovannisyan told the crowd that "this government is counting its last days".

Armenia is set to hold a referendum to change the constitution on December 6. The opposition and observers have claimed that the changes that the ruling Republican Party (HHK) is seeking to pass will consolidate its firm grip on power. Some of the most important constitutional amendments that Armenians will vote on are the switch from a presidential to a parliamentarian system and to change electoral law in order to enable one single party to hold majority in the parliament without winning a majority of votes at the polls.

On December 1, demonstrators demanded that new presidential and parliamentary elections be held.

Sargsyan announced that he would not run for another term, but critics believe that he is seeking to entrench HHK's monopoly on power. 

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