The local self-government system in Armenia has operated since 1996. The bases of this system were set up without local self-government concept and decentralization strategy. The experience of past years indicates that development of local self-government is impossible without development, adoption and consecutive implementation of these documents. Often rise problems in this or that sphere for the lack of consistency of reform steps while making changes. As a result the reforms slow down and the system doesn’t develop.
The Communities Finance Officers Association has developed Local Self-government Concept of Armenia, Decentralization Strategy, the Reforms of Constitutional System of Local Self-government and Package of Legislative Amendments to Local Self-government. They are based on the requirements of the European Charter of Local Self-government, as well as the authors, who have been involved in local self-government issues since its creation, formulated approaches.
There are approaches to many issues, which are included in the report on Local Democracy in Armenia (CPL (10) 8, 31/10/03 ) issued by the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of Council of Europe in 2003. There are not special notices about them in the materials. The authors of these materials came to these views as a result of their studies and observations, and have published in different articles more than once.
Three from above mentioned four documents require constitutional amendments, which are possible to adopt only through referenda but series of Bringing the Legislation of Armenia into Conformity with Requirements of the European Charter of Local Self-government have been prepared within the framework of the Constitution in force. Amendments to corresponding laws are possible to make even under the Constitution in force. This is the reason that amendments to these laws do not take into account Local Self-government Concept and Decentralization Strategy statutes (ex. direct elections of intercommunity union head and council, Yerevan mayor and council).
It is important to develop Local Self-government Concept and Decentralization Strategy in participation of all stakeholders: representatives of state (central) government and local self-government bodies (committees, associations, etc.) and to adopt as a result of a mutual agreement between these two key parties. The National Assembly of Armenia approves it upon recommendation of the Government. Every year the Government shall report to the National Assembly, presenting the course of implementation of decentralization strategy.