National Assembly Begins Discussing Constitution Project

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–The National Assembly began discussing the Constitution project submitted by six parties on March 5. According to the adopted special order–it will be introduced in three parts. The first reporter–National Democratic Party member–political scientist Vardan Poghosian–introduced the bases of the constitutional order–the basic human and citizen rights–liberties–and obligations–as well as the aims of the state and the obligations in the social–cultural and environmental spheres.

According to Poghosian–the aim of the Constitution project is the creation of constitutional prerequisites for leading the country to development and turning Armenia into a true democratic and legal state. The acting Constitution–in his words–violates the principle of dividing the power in favor of the country’s president. The super-presidential system has been playing quite a big role in compromising electorial institutes–since the power was in a single man’s hands. As a matter of fact–the people are bereft of their right to effectively realize its mission of the master of the power–and control the activities of the state bodies elected by it.

This project establishes about ten human and citizen rights. In the project–the policy of connections with Diaspora is concretized. Particularly–the norm of double citizenship is accepted–unlike the acting Constitution–according to which double citizenship is prohibited. In accordance with the project–any person of Armenian nationality beginning from the moment of permanent residence in Armenia–may receive Armenian citizenship. In relation with such persons–certain limitations will be applied.

A person who has double citizenship–independent of the presence of permanent registration–cannot be elected to a state or local government body and cannot hold official posts.

Persons who do not have permanent registration cannot elect to the state or local government bodies or be a member of any political party. The authors believe that only those who "join" Armenia de jure can serve Armenia. As far as other limitations are concerned–including tax liabilities and military obligations–they will be settled by international treaties. The project also envisages the right to double citizenship for people of other nationalities–if they also permanently live in Armenia.

The project envisages abolishing the death penalty–however–as Vardan Poghosian noted–this provision will be practiced only after the Constitution has been adopted through referendum.

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