Armenia To Grant Dual Citizenship From December

In issue #167, 14/09/2007, AZG Armenian Daily reports, that the Prime-Minister Serge Sargsian has instructed to set up the schedule for adopting relevant legislation:

By the instructions of RA PM Serge Sargsian, the schedule for adopting relevant legislative order for applying for dual citizenship has been already set up. The procedure will last will first decade of the upcoming December. RA Justice Minister Gevorg Danielian assured. He added that the schedule includes 13 sub-legislative acts. The relevant amendments had been made to RA law “On Citizenship” that envisage the same rights, plenipotentiaries and exclusions for dual citizens as those granted to RA citizens and set by the international right.

Following yesterday’s announcement by PM Sargsian about state plans to implement a record – 2.5 billion budget, raise pensions and his sole domination of TV news reports, consistently noted and analyzed by Onnik Krikoryan at his new 2008 Presidential Election Monitor blog, this bit of news fits in nicely into the unofficial campaign by the PM for trying to please everyone, including the influential Armenian diaspora.
Looking from another point of view, I have to remember, that during the past elections there were claims by Nikol Pashinyan, one of the leaders of the Impeachment block, that the Government (meaning the Republican party), have issued thousands of brand new passports on the names of dead people and absentees, and have used mobile voting squads to vote using the stolen identities. No need to say, that dual citizenship creates exactly the same type of forgery possibilities.
The issue of dual citizenship, as well as that of absentee voting has been seen as a threat to the integrity of Armenian elections since 2005, when the draft of the new Constitution including such a provision, was being debated. The matter has been discussed at length in a number of earlier posts by Onnik Kriroryan in relation to 2007 Parliamentary Elections. And although I don’t think there will be a significant number of dual citizenships even if the process really starts on December 2007, the fact, that the plans are underway to set up the mechanism exactly two months before the election, and that the process is initiated by Serge Sargsyan, is somehow suspicious to me.

Artur Papyan

Journalist, blogger, digital security and media consultant


  1. Well, I personally don’t believe the false passports claim especially as out of 400,000 alleged to have been issued, Pashinian was unable to show even one from what I remember anyway. On the other hand, I don’t dispute the claims of multiple voting and it’s interesting to note that plans to introduce the inking of fingers for the parliamentary election was rejected. Ironically, however, it was the head of IFES in Armenia who argued against its introduction because of the availability of a substance in Yerevan which when diluted could clean off the ink.
    However, I do agree that the timing of this is interesting, and it’s also worth noting that there are plans to reintroduce absentee voting abroad. This concerns me on two levels. Firstly, I think there needs to be transparency in the election process for Armenians abroad and the possibility that Armenians in the Diaspora can participate in a vote without (sorry to say) too much knowledge about the situation here or even a real stake in the country’s future is worrying.
    Then again, I don’t know what the provision is for dual citizens to vote. Do they have to be physically here in the country? I hope so, unless they’ve been resident for say a few years already.
    Anyway, I don’t know. I think that at the moment at least there’s less of a concern about falsification than in the past. On the other hand, if the outcome of the election looks to be unpredictable or uncertain, I think there would probably be some measures in place to fall back on just in case. For now, though, I think Serzh is trying to win legitimate votes through well publicized meetings, openings of schools, raising pensions etc. Combine that with a lack of a viable opposition candidate and no unity there anyway, and I don’t think he’s got much to worry about, especially if you tie that in with additional vote bribes.
    Play on the cynicism and apathy of the electorate and it’s a dead cert he’ll win in cleaner (but not necessarily free and fair) ways than the last few presidential elections. Throw in a possible popular alternative with some kind of united support being them and it’s another matter. Still, for now at least, that’s not the case, but I’m sure nobody is taking anything for granted in the Sarkisyan camp which is why they’re really working hard at present. More so, in fact, than any other political party, especially in opposition.

  2. I recall reading somewhere yesterday (couldn’t find the bloody article to post a link) how Serge Sargsyan has formulated the task set before the Republican party as: making sure, that the Observers to the 2008 Presidential Elections give the same type of response (i.e. generally positive response about correspondence to democratic norms) to the elecitons.
    I mean – he doesn’t say – he wants to conclude democratic elections. He says – let’s make sure we have the same type of response! That tells you something about the character of the man, doesn’t it?

  3. Sure, and I remember his infamous quote from the 2003 presidential election when he backed the CIS observers over those from the OSCE by saying that their mentality understood everything better.
    However, I’m sorry to say that this attitude towards democracy is everywhere in Armenia. That is, few understand or value democracy. The opposition, for example, are also not for democratic elections. They are for coming to power and will always scream foul if they don’t.
    Sorry, but I think I’ve become resigned to the reality in Armenia. That is, there are no pro-democracy forces in Armenia. Only one side against another and the only thing they’re concerned with is power.

  4. […] will be granted from December — just months before the vote. One local blogger, Observer, has some valid concerns. […] I have to remember, that during the past elections there were claims by Nikol Pashinyan, […]

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