Dual Citizenship Law Under Consideration

–"The necessity of dual citizenship became apparent at that moment when the Republic of Armenia was declared the homeland of all Armenia’s." says ARF Yerevan Press Office

YEREVAN (Yerkir/Armenpress)–Under the current Armenian constitution–citizens of Armenia cannot simultaneously be citizens of other countries. Several representatives and parties in Parliament–and others joined to formulate a bill stating any Armenian national should be granted Armenian citizenship from the moment he establishes permanent residence in Armenia.

Drafted by the National Democratic Union–National Democratic Party–Constitutional Right Union–Hanrapetutyun–as well as the Democratic Party and the Communists–the bill was presented yesterday by Shavarsh Kocharian–chairman of parliament’s committee on education–science and culture–to a round table discussions of the Union of Armenian Journalists. The bill has been already submitted for parliamentary consideration.

The draft bill sets several restrictions–however: dual citizens–though permanent residents of Armenia–cannot elect and be elected to state and government management bodies–hold government positions and join local political parties.

An outspoken member of the parliament Arshak Sadoyan–argued that Armenia’should become the home of approximately 9 million Armenia’s who are scattered across the globe–of which only 3 million live in their homeland. "Dual citizenship is a special status–the rights and obligations of which should be fixed by a special legislation," he said.

Baruyr Hayrikian–leader of the small Self-Determination Union party–argued that the proposed bill–though a step forward towards getting closer to dual citizenship–"should not set discriminating restrictions for a certain category of Armenia’s."

David Shahnazarian–former head of the national security department of ex-president Ter-Petrosian said building a legal base for dual citizenship institution would be impossible–and argued that international laws on dual citizenship do not imply citizenship based on ethnic belonging.

Unlike Sadoyan–Shahnazarian said Armenian leadership should come from the 3 million Armenia’s living on Armenian soil.

The head of the ARF press office in Yerevan–Arsen Hampartsoumian stated that the necessity of dual citizenship became apparent at that moment when the Republic of Armenia was declared the homeland of all Armenia’s. "This process–of course–requires extensive review and clarification of approach. The creation of a law on dual citizenship must be based on inter-governmental agreemen’s," added Hampartsoumian

Addressing the issue of dual citizenship compromising national security–Hampartsoumian stated that–in fact–viewed from the standpoint of serving the national interests of Armenia–it is vital to adopt a law on dual citizenship.

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