Draft Law on Dual Citizenship Presented in Parliament

The Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) made public on Wednesday the basic principles of its draft law on dual citizenship–which would grant Armenia’s the right to hold dual citizenship.

ARF member Armen Rustmanian said the law would was designed to consolidate Armenia’s worldwide for resolution of pan-national issues–to create a new opportunity for the country to become stronger–and to defend the rights of all Armenian citizens abroad.

"The dual citizenship for Armenia’s stems from the unique situation the Armenia’s have found themselves after the Genocide," Mkrtchian said.

Levon Mkrtchian–leader of the ARF faction in Parliament–said the party employed a team of experts–including Constitutional Court Chairman Gagik Harutiunian–to draft the law–which he said incorporates lessons learned from other nations that permit dual citizenship.

Mkrtchian said they worked to set clear definitions about suffrage–mandatory military service–and other controversial issues.

The legal framework envisages–among other things–that citizens willing to take part in elections held in Armenia will only be able to cast their ballots inside the country. It would also ban the opening of polling stations in Armenian diplomatic missions.

The proposed principles do not specify conditions for granting diaspora Armenia’s the right to vote and be elected to a public office in Armenia. ARF’s senior partner in the governing coalition–the Republican Party (HHK) of Prime Minister Andranik Markarian–believes that ethnic Armenian citizens of other nations can be granted that right only if they live in Armenia–have served in its armed forces–and pay taxes.

Mkrtchian and Rustamian added that their legal "concept" will serve as the basis for ARF’s draft law on dual citizenship that they say will be put into circulation this autumn.

Introduction of dual citizenship was made possible by one of the constitutional amendmen’s that were enacted after a referendum last November. ARF and other Armenian parties believe that a legal ban on dual citizenship–imposed under former President Levon Ter-Petrosian–was unjustified given the existence of the worldwide Armenian diaspora.

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