Kocharian Discusses Constitutional Reforms

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–"There is only one acceptable variant of constitutional changes and it is the only one that the parliament will discuss," said President Robert Kocharian in a press conference on Friday. "The subject of the constitutional changes is the president of the republic–and the president of the republic has presented his variant," he emphasized.

Commenting on Shavarsh Kocharian’s proposed reform–which supports the creation of a parliamentary republic–the president made this comment–"If Shavarsh Kocharian wishes to present his variant of constitutional changes–then he must first try to become president."

The alternative package of reforms can be presented by the National Assembly–however the National Assembly will have to overcome the president’s veto by a two thirds majority. "If two thirds of the National Assembly are against me–then why am I President," said the president–adding–"There is no and will be no other variant."

Kocharian added that his reform proposals includes restrictions on the president’s powers–which–in his opinion–is a little early for Armenia. The proposed changes will decrease Armenia’s ability to resole the crisis situation–and it would be better for the country to adopt the reforms after the settlement of the Karabakh conflict. Nevertheless–the president supports the adoption of his constitutional reforms because they were part of his platform before he got elected. The president advised that a referendum concerning constitutional changes be held next spring–so that political forces will be given enough time to get ready for the 2003 elections.

The president called for public support for his constitutional changes–reminding them that his proposed reforms limit the powers of the president.

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