Kocharian Presides Over Constitutional Commission Meeting

YEREVAN (RFE/RL/BBC)–Armenian President Robert Kocharian on Monday chaired the first meeting of a commission charged with drafting proposals on amending the existing constitution. A nine-point program unveiled by Kocharian envisages restrictions on presidential authority–decentralization of government–greater access to the Constitutional Court and the lifting of the ban on dual citizenship.

Kocharian called for a greater authority of the parliament and government but made it clear that there should be no "revolutionary" change in the current constitutional order. "I am ready to cede part of my powers to the legislative and judiciary branches," he said.

Kocharian’s proposals would place restrictions on the president’s unlimited right to dissolve the parliament. Likewise–the government’s decisions will not be subject to presidential endorsement. Other members of the commission have until June 20 to come up with proposals of their own. Amendmen’s proposed by the commission are to be put on a referendum after they are given the go-ahead by the parliament.

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