ARMENIAN PARLIAMENT PASSES DUAL CITIZENSHIP BILL, EXPECTED TO INCREASE CLOUT OF VAST DIASPORA
Published: Feb 26, 2007
Parliament on Monday gave final approval to legislation allowing dual
citizenship, a move that could vastly increase the sway that Armenia’s
vast diaspora holds over political life in the tiny ex-Soviet republic.
In the second and final reading, ruling party lawmakers in the
131-seat National Assembly voted 66-5 to back amendments to several
laws. Opposition lawmakers boycotted the vote, saying it will
increase potential for corruption, though most of the opposition
parties support the overall concept.
President Robert Kocharian is expected to sign the measure into law,
which allows dual citizenship for Armenians 18 years or older who
have lived in the country continuously for three years; who marry
Armenian citizens; who have a child who is an Armenian citizen or
other new stipulations.
Justice Minister David Arutyunian told lawmakers that dual citizens
would also be able to vote in elections but only if they physically
cast their ballots in Armenia. Dual citizens will not be able to run
for the presidency, parliament or the Constitutional Court.
The issue is an important change for the small country of about 3.3
million that has a massive ethnic diaspora worldwide _ estimated at
between 9 million and 12 million _ with particularly large communities
in the United States and France.
Expatriate Armenians send massive amount of humanitarian and financial
aid back to their homeland, and often subscribe to a harder political
line on key issues of national interest, such as relations with
neighboring Azerbaijan and Turkey.
From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress