Pashinyan Again Repeats Aliyev’s Demands for New Armenian Constitution

Pashinyan Again Repeats Aliyev’s Demands for New Armenian Constitution

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan reiterated his call for a new Armenian constitution on Friday, amidst ongoing pressures from Azerbaijan for constitutional changes.

On the 29th anniversary of Armenia’s current constitution, which was adopted in a 1995 referendum, Pashinyan addressed the nation. He stated that the existing constitution does not fully reflect the people’s vision for governance and community relations within the country.

“We need a new constitution that people feel they have created and accepted, one that embodies their idea of the state and the relationships within it,” Pashinyan said in a statement marking the public holiday.

In recent weeks, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and other officials have insisted that any peace treaty with Armenia hinges on changes to Armenia’s constitution. They argue that the current document contains territorial claims against Azerbaijan.

Specifically, Baku wants Yerevan to remove references to the 1990 declaration of independence, which cites a 1989 unification act by Soviet Armenia and the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast. The legal route to this change requires a new constitution, approved by a referendum.

In late May, Pashinyan took a step towards this goal by setting up a committee to draft a new constitution by the end of 2026. This move has been criticized by Armenian opposition leaders, who accuse Pashinyan of yielding to Azerbaijani demands—a claim he and his allies deny.

Pashinyan previously argued that Armenia’s constitution needs updating to reflect the “new geopolitical environment” in the region. He also asserted that lasting peace with Azerbaijan is unachievable as long as the current constitution mentions the 1990 declaration.

A poll conducted in Yerevan by RFE/RL’s Armenian Service revealed mixed feelings among the public. Many respondents did not share Pashinyan’s sense of urgency for a new constitution.

“What Armenia needs is good leadership,” said one woman. “Whether we need a new constitution should be decided by our leaders.”

“The main issue is not the constitution but its implementation,” commented another resident. “Writing something new on paper doesn’t necessarily change anything.”

Another individual linked Pashinyan’s push for a new constitution directly to Azerbaijani influence. “Who is Aliyev to dictate changes to our constitution?” he asked.