Skip Navigation
Armenia

Platform for Submitting Petitions (AM0044)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: Armenia Action Plan 2018-2020

Action Plan Cycle: 2018

Status: Active

Institutions

Lead Institution: Ministry of Justice

Support Institution(s): Office of the Prime Minister "Harmonious Development" NGO (upon consent), "Armavir Development Center" NGO

Policy Areas

E-Government

IRM Review

IRM Report: Armenia Design Report 2018-2020

Starred: Pending IRM Review

Early Results: Pending IRM Review

Design i

Verifiable: Yes

Relevant to OGP Values: Civic Participation Technology

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion:

Description

10. Creation of a unified electronic platform for submitting petitions
Commitment Start and End Date Commitment Start: November 2018
Commitment End: August 2020
Lead implementing agency Ministry of Justice
Person responsible from implementing agency Anna Harutyunyan
Title, Department Chief specialist of the Division for Electronic Justice and Implementation of Innovative Programmes of the Staff of the Ministry of Justice
Email: harutyunyanannag@gmail.com
Phone + 374 10 59 41 59
Other actors involved Other state actors involved Office of the Prime Minister
Civil society, private sector "Harmonious Development" NGO (upon consent), "Armavir Development Center" NGO
Issue subject to regulation As a result of adoption of the Law of the Republic of Armenia "On petitions", each person has the right to submit a letter on matters of public significance, report on shortcomings of activities of state and local self-government bodies and officials, or a proposal on improving the activities of state and local self-government bodies and officials, settlement of issues relating to economic, political, social and other sectors of civil life or improvement of legal regulations in effect. At the same time, by the above-mentioned Law, both the written form and electronic way are separated as a way of submitting petitions. Accordingly, realisation of this constitutionally-enshrined right will be more effective and guaranteed as a result of creation of the unified electronic platform for submitting petitions.

Main objective Ensuring the effective process for submitting petitions, ensuring an open, accountable and transparent process for consideration of petitions, increasing the transparency and accountability of activities of state bodies, improving public administration, promoting the state-private sector cooperation
Brief Description of Commitment A unified electronic platform for submitting petitions will be created
OGP challenge addressed by the commitment Improvement of public confidence, enhancement of public integrity
Relevance to OGP values Creation of the platform will lead to transparency, accountability of activities of state bodies, promotion of participatory democracy and innovation
Ambition Creation of the platform will ensure the transparency and accountability of activities of state bodies
Promotes efforts for implementation of SDG Goals or Targets 16.7: ensure responsive, inclusive, participatory and representative decision-making at all levels

Verifiable and measurable criteria for performance of commitment
Start:
End:
Ongoing Actions
Study of the international practice and development of a technical task with the state agencies’ and NGOs’ representatives November 2018 January 2019
Platform introduction and trial July 2019 October 2019
Full launch of platform December 2019 August 2020

IRM Midterm Status Summary

10. Platform for Submitting Petitions

Language of the commitment as it appears in the action plan: [91]

Brief description: A unified electronic platform for submitting petitions will be created.

Milestones

10.1 Study of the international practice and development of a technical task with the state agencies’ and NGOs’ representatives.

10.2 Platform introduction and trial.

10.3 Full launch of platform.

Start Date: November 2018

End Date: August 2020

Context and Objectives

Article 53 of the renewed Armenian Constitution states that everyone shall have the right to submit, either individually or jointly, a petition to state and local self-government bodies and officials. It also states that everyone has the right to receive an appropriate reply within a reasonable time period. [92] Aligned with this article, the law on petitions adopted in 2017, describes the rights of petition applicants, the procedure for filing a petition, and the procedure for registration and publication of a petition. It also describes legitimate reasons for rejecting petitions. [93]

According to the law, both hard copies and electronic channels can be used for submitting petitions. When a public petition is submitted (by using a special application form), if there are no reasons for its rejection, the responsible state body shall publish the petition on the relevant electronic platform. Other persons can join the petition within 30 days of publication. The state body or official that received the petition must provide a response within one month after the signature period. [94]

This commitment aims to develop a unified electronic platform for submitting petitions. The law on petitions does not define the minimum number of signatures to make examination of the petition mandatory. Any petition must be examined and responded to if there are no reasons for rejection. [95] Along with this, the Constitution identifies several possibilities for citizen initiatives, such as:

  • proposing a draft law to the parliament if signed by 50,000 or more citizens having a right to vote, [96]
  • proposing constitutional changes if signed by 150,000 or more citizens having a right to vote, [97] and
  • proposing a referendum initiative by 350,000 or more citizens with a right to vote, in case the draft law proposed by citizens was rejected by the parliament and recognized by the Constitutional Court as compliant with the Constitution. [98]

Thus, the electronic petitions platform will make it easier to start petitions to propose a draft law or initiate a referendum. Many citizen initiatives collect signatures in international petition platforms (such as change.org and gopetition.com). These are usually initiated by human rights or environmental organizations, or political activists. [99] The opportunity to implement similar initiatives on a government-administered platform with mandatory discussion of petitions by relevant state bodies could improve dialogue between citizens and state bodies. It could also provide faster solutions to issues.

This commitment, as well as the law on petitions, does not clearly outline whether citizens joining the petitions need to sign with an electronic signature. If electronic signatures are needed, this will limit the use of the platform, as the vast majority of citizens do not have such a signature. [100] To get an electronic signature, users must acquire an ID card, obtain a smart card reader machine or USIM mobile card, and pay an annual fee of 3,000 AMD—about 6 USD. An electronic signature is also mandatory for using online services provided by state and local self-government bodies—for example, submitting tax reports and getting certificates.

The stakeholders interviewed for this report generally find this commitment important for creating a basis for meaningful public participation and direct democracy. Overall, the potential impact of the commitment is assessed as moderate. It provides a new opportunity for public participation in decision making, with feedback required. It can also fuel legislative initiatives by citizens and even help them to organize a referendum.

Next steps

The commitment could provide additional tools for public participation and direct democracy. The IRM researcher recommends specifying the data needed for joining public petitions (whether electronic signature is needed or not). The government should also allow citizens to join a petition through providing names and passport data (not visible for public). This practice is used for hard-copy collection of signatures. Another civil society organization stakeholder suggested setting a reasonable threshold for signatures that will enable mandatory public discussion on an issue raised by a petition.

[91] Government of the Republic of Armenia, OGP Armenia Action Plan 2018-2020, https://www.opengovpartnership.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/Armenia_Action-Plan_2018-2020_EN.doc.
[92] Constitution of the Republic of Armenia, article 53, 06 December 2015, https://www.president.am/en/constitution-2015/.
[93] RA Law On Petitions, 21 December 2017, https://www.arlis.am/DocumentView.aspx?DocID=119042.
[94] RA Law On Petitions, 21 December 2017, https://www.arlis.am/DocumentView.aspx?DocID=119042.
[95] Reasons for rejection include repetitive submission, presenting statements that threaten constitutional order, contain hate speech, and needs settlement by judicial bodies.
[96] Constitution of the Republic of Armenia, 06 December 2015, article 109, https://www.president.am/en/constitution-2015/.
[97] Ibid., article 202.
[98] Ibid., article 204.
[99] See, for example, a petition on preserving Zvartnots airport building at https://bit.ly/2ITfjdv, and “Stop Mining in Amulsar” petition at https://bit.ly/2IXOKnx 
[100] According to the information provided by EKENG cjsc—the company authorized to issue electronic digital signatures in Armenia—about 100,000 citizens of Armenia have digital signatures (electronic communication with EKENG cjsc by IRM researcher, 06 March 2019). This constitutes about 3 percent of the population.

Commitments

  1. Open Data in Official Declarations

    AM0035, 2018, Asset Disclosure

  2. Government Grant Transparency

    AM0036, 2018, Fiscal Transparency

  3. Beneficial Ownership Register

    AM0037, 2018, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  4. Modernization of Community Website

    AM0038, 2018, E-Government

  5. State Water Cadastre

    AM0039, 2018, E-Government

  6. Land Cadastre

    AM0040, 2018, E-Government

  7. Integrated Social Services

    AM0041, 2018, E-Government

  8. Unified Information System for Management of Education

    AM0042, 2018, Capacity Building

  9. Exploring Medical Assistance Program

    AM0043, 2018, E-Government

  10. Platform for Submitting Petitions

    AM0044, 2018, E-Government

  11. Public Service Dashboard

    AM0045, 2018, E-Government

  12. State Travel Transparency

    AM0027, 2016, E-Government

  13. Accountability for Grants of the Government

    AM0028, 2016, E-Government

  14. Transparency of the State Budget

    AM0029, 2016, Fiscal Transparency

  15. "Open Data" in Official Declaration:

    AM0030, 2016, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  16. Portal for Community Decisions.

    AM0031, 2016, Capacity Building

  17. Accountability Licensing

    AM0032, 2016, Capacity Building

  18. Accessibility of Integrated Social Services

    AM0033, 2016, E-Government

  19. "One-Stop-Shop" Pilot Project Within Military Registration Offices

    AM0034, 2016, Capacity Building

  20. Digitization and publication of data in the “Republican Geological Fund” SNCO

    AM0016, 2014, Extractive Industries

  21. Ensuring Transparency in Mining

    AM0017, 2014, Extractive Industries

  22. Ensuring Public Awareness About Health Care Financing

    AM0018, 2014, E-Government

  23. Ensuring Transparency of Asset and Income Declarations of the RA High-Ranking Officials

    AM0019, 2014, Asset Disclosure

  24. Online Broadcasting of the State Procurement Appeals Board Sessions

    AM0020, 2014, E-Government

  25. Community Microsurvey Introduction in 10 Communities

    AM0021, 2014, E-Government

  26. Ensuring Open, Transparent, Participatory and Accountable Process of State Policies and Legislative Reforms

    AM0022, 2014, E-Government

  27. Public Awareness on the Lawmaking Activity of State Governance Bodies

    AM0023, 2014, E-Government

  28. Ensuring Transparency of the Election of Governing Boards of the RA General Secondary Education Institutions and of the Annual Budget Planning and Expenses of Ra General Secondary Education Institutions

    AM0024, 2014, Education

  29. Knowledge and Capacity Building of Public Servants in the Freedom of Information and Anticorruption Field

    AM0025, 2014, Capacity Building

  30. Ensuring Transparency of Local Self Government Bodies of Large Communities

    AM0026, 2014, E-Government

  31. Reviewing the Regulatory Normative Legal Acts (Regulatory Guillotine Project)

    AM0001, 2012, Legislation & Regulation

  32. Improving Internal Audit System for the Public Sector

    AM0002, 2012, Audits and Controls

  33. Improving Procurement Procedures

    AM0003, 2012, Capacity Building

  34. Improving Budget Planning and Reporting Systems Through Full Utilization of Program Budgeting

    AM0004, 2012, Audits and Controls

  35. Promoting Transparency and Objectiveness in Tax Administration

    AM0005, 2012, Conflicts of Interest

  36. Fight Against Corruption

    AM0006, 2012, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  37. Introduction of a Unified Payment System (Portal)

    AM0007, 2012, E-Government

  38. State Car Inspection Improvements

    AM0008, 2012, Infrastructure & Transport

  39. Implementation of an Electronic System for Consular Services

    AM0009, 2012, Citizenship and Immigration

  40. Implementation of Mail-Armenia System

    AM0010, 2012, Citizenship and Immigration

  41. Introduction of e-Statistics System

    AM0011, 2012, E-Government

  42. Introduction of e-Documentation Sharing System in Urban Communities

    AM0012, 2012, E-Government

  43. Ensuring Transparency of Asset Declarations

    AM0013, 2012, Asset Disclosure

  44. Standardization of Offical Websites Content

    AM0014, 2012, E-Government

  45. Improvement of Knowledge and Skills of Public Servants on Access to Information

    AM0015, 2012, Capacity Building