Armenian Parliament Adopts Draft Constitutional Reforms In SecondRea


YEREVAN, SEPTEMBER 1. ARMINFO. Today Armenian MPs adopted the draft
constitutional reforms in the second reading by 98 votes “for.”

In his speech, Vice Speaker Tigran Torosyan said that adoption of draft
constitutional reforms at November referendum will open wide prospects
for further democratic development of the country. He said the draft
considerably differs from the effective Constitution of Armenia. Thus,
the document secures a real balance between the power branches,
creates guaranties of independence of the judicial power. It also
expands the powers of the local self-government bodies and guarantees
observation of human rights and freedoms, the vice speaker said.

Torosyan said fundamental changes are proposed in the sphere of
government formation. The draft deprives the president of his right
to dismiss the prime minister, the president is empowered to propose
the parliament to made such a decision. Besides, the draft provides
the president for appointing the prime minister in case of a relevant
proposal by the absolute parliamentary majority or at least relative
majority. Torosyan thinks an important step that the draft provides
for formation of the government on the basis of a special law and
not by the decree of the president. All this provisions evidently
restrict the president’s powers and expand those of the legislative
power, the vice speaker said. He also said the draft increases in
the role of the executive power in the domestic political and foreign
political processes, as in conformity with the draft, the president
is no longer head of the government and the decision by the executive
power are not subject to the president’s ratification.

Torosyan called it important that the draft does not consider the
president head of the Armenian Justice Council, and the procedure of
advancing candidates for the membership of the Council is regulated by
the law, which creates real guarantees of independence of the judicial
power. He thinks important that the draft provides for election of
Yerevan Mayor and not appointment. The effective Constitution allows
governors to make proposals to the government on dismissal of the
heads of the communities, meanwhile, the draft allow making such
decisions only the Constitutional Court.

Besides, the draft allows the communities to establish inter-community
unions and independently form and use community budgets. He also
pointed out the reforms related the activity of the Supervisory
Chamber, stating that existence of an independent Supervisory
Chamber and constitutional guaranties of its independence upgrade
its role. Torosyan called an important step towards human rights
protection the fact that the draft provides the parliament for
appointing Ombudsman. Besides, each citizen of Armenia as a right to
apply to the Constitutional Court to protect his rights and freedoms.

It should be noted the parliamentary opposition represented by the
Justice bloc and the National Unity party did not take part in the
voting and refused from supporting the draft reforms, calling its
supporters to vote against the document at November referendum.