STEPANAKERT (Panorama.am) — Foreign Ministry of the Nagorno Karabakh Republic reports that on February 20, a national referendum on a new draft of the constitution was held in the Republic of Artsakh (Nagorno Karabakh Republic). The turnout was 76.44 percent of registered voters, of which 87.6 percent supported the adoption of the new constitution.
Around 100 international observers from 30 countries monitored the voting process and positively assessed the organization and conduct of the referendum noting their transparency and compliance with international standards.
“The new constitution is to continue the traditions of state building enshrined in the first constitution, further strengthen the sovereignty of the country, and promote human rights and the rule of law, to improve public administration, enroot the independent judiciary and reform the local self-government. A key innovation was the increase of direct participation of citizens in public affairs by providing them with the right to legislative initiative, as well as on proposing amendments to the Constitution,” reads the statement.
According to the release, the referendum of February 20 has become another act of expression of will by the people of Artsakh, in exercising their right to determine their own future, as enshrined in fundamental international documents.
“The attempts of Baku to suppress by all means, including military, this inherent right of the people of Artsakh, lead to the outbreak of the armed conflict. It remains a major source of persistent tension in the region and the reason for the lack of progress in the settlement of the Azerbaijani-Karabakh conflict. The democratic development of Artsakh’s statehood is an irreversible process. Reluctance of Azerbaijan to recognize this fact through denial of the right to self-determination realized by the people of Artsakh is an attempt to return to the past, which is doomed to failure,” concluded the statement.
Armenia’s Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian concurred, noting that the Artsakh Referendum is further evidence of the determination of the people of Artsakh to organize their public life by democratic processes.
Nalbandian said he commends the fact that more than hundred international observers representing three dozen countries assessed the Referendum as well organized, transparent and in line with international standards.
“For quarter of a century Nagorno-Karabakh has conducted processes inherent to democratic societies and there is no doubt that the people of Artsakh have certainly gained the right to live according to the same universal values that the free democratic world enjoys,” stresses the statement.
“Once again the people of Artsakh demonstrated that their will to build democratic society is irreversible notwithstanding all odds of continuous use of force and threat of force, economic blockade and other hostile actions perpetrated by Azerbaijan. It does not come as a surprise that the ongoing democratic processes in Artsakh are met with such an extreme discontent in Azerbaijan — a country notorious regarding its human rights violations,” said the statement.