Constitutional Reforms Group Begins Deliberation

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–At its regular meeting on Thursday–the Parliamentary Interim Commission on Constitutional Reforms did not approve the draft constitution submitted by the leader of the People’s Party of Armenia Shavarsh Kocharian–and immediately began discussions of the bill on Constitutional changes submitted by the President.

The authors of the bill–PPA leader Shavarsh Kocharian–leader of the Communist Party of Armenia deputy group Frunze Kharatian–representative of the Hayastan (Armenia) deputy group Ara Ketikian–and the PPA representative Vardan Mkrtchian voted against the negative conclusion on the bill.

The leader of the Constitutional Right Union Hrant Khachatrian did not participate in the vote and Head of the People’s deputy group Karen Karapetian distributed a document among those present introducing the motivations of the group’s being against the Parliamentary ruling system. It should also be noted that the Armenian Revolutionary Federation was also present with Aghvan Vardanian’s participation (Vardanian will replace Armen Rustamian as leader of the ARF’s parliamentary faction).

Earlier–as a result of the dispute–head of the Interim Commission–Parliament Vice-Speaker Tigran Torossian suggested that the Commission’s should submit the proposal to a vote regardless of the positive or negative reactions it received. A comparative analysis of the two versions should also be submitted to the Parliament. Seven members of the commission voted against S. Kocharian’s draft and five voted for the comparison of the versions.

Commenting on the results of the vote–S. Kocharian stated that those who support the President’s draft are trying to divert attention from the other drafts. According to him–since his draft was compared with the current Constitution only–the results show that those who have voted against it support the proposals of having no local government in the country–no independent judiciary–and support limited human rights." Otherwise–according to S. Kocharian–these deputies are being guided by "the compulsion they will carry out to the end." He believes that the public must take part in the discussion and put pressure on the parliamentarians to balance the president’s influence. Shavarsh Kocharian also said that the political forces that believe the people must not be deprived of their rights should turn to the people for assistance.

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