Draft of Constitutional Amendmen’s to Be Submitted to Venice Commission

DUAL CITIZENSHIP ISSUE AMONG PROPOSED CHANGES

By Arpin Andreasian YEREVAN (ArmenPress)–The initial draft of changes to Armenia’s Constitution has been completed and will be forwarded to the Venice Commission next week for expert advice and input–said Parliament Speaker Artur Baghdasarian today. He was addressing a pan-Armenian youth conference being held in Tsaghkadzor–Armenia.

In the draft amendmen’s–the restrictions against dual citizenship have been removed–Baghdasarian reported–adding that after further revisions to the text this matter will be regulated by law.

The "Venice Commission" refers to the European Commission for Democracy Through Law–which is the Council of Europe’s advisory body on constitutional matters–and has played a leading role in the adoption of constitutions that conform to the standards of Europe’s constitutional heritage.

Baghdasarian explained that in political circles and civil society specific issues are still being discussed–including whether those with dual citizenship must carry out military service in Armenia and whether they will have the right to be elected to office and the right to vote in elections.

Regarding the prohibition against diasporan-Armenia’s’ ownership of land–Baghdasarian noted that Armenia’s from abroad have been able to purchase real estate through the provisions of the special residency status–and many have done so.

He added that after the constitutional referendum planned for June 2005–corresponding changes could be made in the real estate law and regulations.

Special residency status is granted by the President of Armenia. Holders of the Special Residency Passport are entitled to the rights of Armenian citizens–except for the right to vote–run for office–and enroll in political organizations in Armenia. They are not bound by various obligations of Armenian citizens–such as service in the armed forces.

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