BURBANK—President Serzh Sarkisian wants to propose a constitutional amendment, which would create two parliamentary houses, one of which will allow Diaspora Armenians to be part of the legislature, announced Diaspora Minister Hranoush Hakopyan during a meeting with community members Sunday at Arbat Golden Palace organized by the Consulate General of Armenia to Los Angeles.
Hakopyan’s explanation that the proposed upper house of the legislature would allow Diaspora Armenians to serve as representatives was met with applause and excitement by the audience.
“In assessing the issue, the president of Armenia has come to the conclusion, and is making suggestions, that yes, certain changes within the governing structure of Armenia are needed to allow Diaspora Armenians to be part of Armenia’s government,” explained Hakopyan.
The minister explained that “it is not a coincidence that we want to make changes to Armenia’s constitution” to create two house of the parliament, with the upper house—the Senate—including representatives from the Diaspora.
“Today, I witnessed the excitement by our California-Armenian community about the creation of the Senate,” said Hakopyan.
“The first step by the president was the creation of the Diaspora Ministry, through which substantive policies for Armenia-Diaspora relations were put forth. The second was the establishment of the dual-citizenship institution, and clearly we are taking the third step by creating the upper house through which the Diaspora Armenian will have a voice in the governing of the country and in creating policy,” explained Hakopyan.
In response to Hakopyan’s statements, Armenia’s presidential spokesman Armen Arzoumanyan told Panoram news agency that during the spring 2010 meeting of the Hayastan Armenia Fund board meeting discussions were had on expanding Diaspora-Armenia cooperation and board members were tasked to present recommendations in a year’s time.
Arzoumanyan said that amending the constitution was a very responsible step and it requires extensive discussion and expert input before implementation.
During the reception Sunday evening, organized by the Consulate General of Armenia to Los Angeles, Hakopyan awarded a medal to long-time community activist and benefactor Vahe Karapetyan.
The minister also briefed the gathering about the upcoming activities of the ministry, the realization of which, she said, required participation by the California Armenian community.