Parliament Considers Creation of A Commission On Constitutional Reform

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–A preliminary decision about the establishment of an Interim Parliamentary Commission that would discuss and present conclusions about draft laws on the Constitution and Constitutional amendmen’s will be made at the next three-day parliamentary session. Galust Sahakyan–the author of the legislative initiative and leader of the Unity faction–made this a statement at a press briefing on Thursday.

Sahakyan postponed the vote on the draft for 15 days because of fears that two of the 66 people would not be present and the initiative would not be passed. He does not suspect that absence of MPs was a intentional.

Sahakyan stressed that all political forces should be represented in any National Assembly commission–including factions–groups–and also deputies not affiliated with any parliamentary blocs. While groups and factions nominate their candidates themselves–the candidacy of independent deputies are nominated and discussed during a National Assembly session. According to him–although Arshak Sadoyan–as the leader of a party–represents a political force–in parliament he represents only one person–and so his demand to be included in the commission is not supported. At the same time–stressing the importance of system reforms–the faction’s leader thinks that parliamentary forces not represented in the legislature should also take part in the commissions.

According to Sahakyan–the interim commission will only provide a conclusion regarding the variants of the Constitution drafted by the CPA–Shavarsh Kocharian–and the package of Constitutional reforms submitted by the president. Regardless of whether the conclusions are positive or negative–all variants will be discussed by the parliament.

According to Aghvan Vardanian–the leader of the ARF faction–the establishment of the interim commission will facilitate the beginning of political accord. Representatives of parliamentary political forces–discussing the drafts in detail–will get an opportunity to bring their positions closer together. He ruled out the opposing argument which states that the creation of the commission will drag out the discussion–and the Constitution may be put up for a referendum simultaneously with the presidential election.

According to Myasnik Malkhasyan–the leader of the Hayastan deputy group–the issue of constitutional amendmen’s is not of paramount importance–since it will not improve or deteriorate "the situation in the country." However–in case of establishing an interim commission–he agrees that it should include not only parliamentary forces–but also forces not represented in the legislative body.

Karen Karapetyan–the leader of the People’s Deputy group–disagrees with the reasons justifying the creation of the commission. According to him–during discussions at the commission–the draft may be partly elaborated–after which it will be discussed by the National Assembly standing commission on state and legal issues–i.e. the discussion will be shifted from the political plane onto the legal one. Only after that will the draft be submitted to the parliament for discussion. However–Karapetyan did acknowledge the importance of the involvement of forces not represented in the legislature.


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