VENICE—The European Commission for Democracy through Law (Venice Commission) has released its preliminary opinion on proposed amendments to chapters 1 to 7 and 10 of the Constitution of the Republic of Armenia. The Venice Commission is an advisory body of the Council of Europe, composed of independent experts in the field of constitutional law.
The Venice Commission welcomed the draft put together by the Constitutional Commission of Armenia. According to the Venice Commission, important improvements have been made on a text which it believes was already a very good basis for constitutional reforms, thanks to an open dialogue between the two bodies.
The Venice Commission’s opinion includes recommendations for further improvement of the draft. The Commission highlighted the following points:
– Limitations to the right to vote and the right to be a candidate for the National Assembly should be lifted;
– The electoral system should not be set out in detail in the Constitution: the possibility of a second round between the two most voted parties of alliances should be removed;
– The prohibition of forming new factions in the Assembly during the whole term of a legislature should be removed as it would limit the free mandate of Members of Parliament;
– As concerns the Judiciary, there should be no interference of a political organ in the procedure of dismissal of judges and in the appointment of judges and court chairpersons of the Court of Cassation.
The Venice Commission encouraged Armenian authorities to continue discussions with all political forces in Armenia and with civil society in order to clarify any misunderstandings and to ensure the widest possible support for the reform.
The Venice Commission’s full opinion on the draft constitutional reforms can be read here.