Officials List Conditions for Dual Citizenship in Armenia

(RFE/RL)–The lifting of a constitutional ban on dual citizenship would not automatically give diaspora Armenia’s the right to vote and get elected to a public office in Armenia–leaders of the governing coalition said on Tuesday.

Senior lawmakers from the governing Republican Party (HHK) and the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) said ethnic Armenian citizens of other nations will have that right only if they live in Armenia–have served in its military–and pay taxes.

Dual citizenship is among the numerous constitutional amendmen’s that citizens of Armenia will endorse or reject in a referendum on November 27. The existing constitution–enacted in 1995–bans them from being the citizens of other states.

"We have a national security issue," said the HHK’s Samvel Nikoyan. "Every step taken by us should serve that purpose. Anything beyond that is not acceptable to me."

"For example–giving one or two million Armenia’s of Russia the right to vote means that the outcome of every Armenian election is decided in Russia," he added. "Can we allow such a thing? Of course not."

Levon Mkrtchian of the ARF agreed–saying that the right to vote must be pegged to a number of conditions such as a minimum residency requirement. "A diaspora-based citizen’s rights would be commensurate with the fulfillment of their obligations," he said.

Mkrtchian said ARF experts are already working on a draft law concerning citizenship. He said it will be circulated as early as next spring if the constitutional amendmen’s pass the referendum.

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