Republic of Armenia regained sovereignty in 1991 embarked on implementation of large-scale reforms and establishment of new political and economic systems. Huge and specific importance in these processes is attached to establishment of local self-government system, which is an important condition for the democratic society formation. As a result of public government decentralization local self-government system has been formed, public administration system of the country, administrative and territorial division, distribution of functions and interrelations among various levels of government clarified, et cetera. Nevertheless, it should be mentioned that in the overall context of reforms the decentralization process per se was launched fairly late, i.e. in the aftermath of promulgation of the Constitution in 1995, which delay has been preconditioned by objective reasons, such as conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh, blockade, disruption of established economic ties, energy crises and complexities of transition.
The process of decentralization in Armenia may be divided into three phases:
1995-1996: Constitutional, legislative, institutional and structural reforms, and formation of a new public governance system;
1997-2001: Expansion of legislative framework, and establishment of local self-government system;
2002: strengthening fundaments of local self-government, and transfer of new powers to local self-government bodies.
In the first phase of decentralization, institutional and structural reforms were undertaken, new system of public government was established, local self-government was segregated from the state (central) government, first ever elections of local self-government bodies were held, and the process of self-establishment of the new local self-government was launched, all the above on the basis of the Constitution and legislation.
The second phase is characterized with establishment of local self-governance. In this phase, local self-government bodies started actual implementation of their activities, elaboration and enforcement of necessary institutions, a number of laws and sub-legislative acts were adopted, which, to certain extent, filled the legislative gaps, and first complications and problems occurred in respect of local self-governance.
Beginning of the third phase relates to adoption of the new Law on Local Self-government (May 7, 2002), which expanded and strengthened the concept of municipality property, streamlined interrelations between central authorities and local self-government bodies, and new powers were transferred to the local governments.
The beginning of the establishment of local self-government system is 1996, when in November 10 took place the first elections of local self-government bodies and a new elected municipality heads and municipality councils began implementation of their responsibilities defined by the law. During ten years existence, there are both success and many problems, which prevent its development
This book contains general characteristic of local self-government system of Armenia, developments of its various fields, illustrations of existing problems and recommendations for strengthening and further development of local self-government system.