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Draft constitution reforms released; President says won’t seek new term

Draft constitution reforms released; President says won’t seek new term

PanARMENIAN.Net - The commission of experts drafting amendments to Armenia’s constitution has published a blueprint for a concept of the future constitutional reform, with the option of the country’s becoming a parliamentary republic included, Armenia Now reported.

The 45-page document published on the Justice Ministry’s official website and marked “for internal use” takes a broad look at various legal problems that need to be addressed through constitutional amendments. In the section concerning “Division and Balance of Power” the authors of the document present conceptual approaches to solving the existing problems in this area.

As an “alternative” approach, the document suggests effectively switching to a parliamentary republic in which the prime minister assumes the post based on the result of legislative elections and forms the government that reports to the parliament.

Under such a system the president, to be elected by the National Assembly once for a seven-year term from among candidates that have no party affiliation, would ensure the observation of constitutional rules by the legislative and executive branches of power.

Since the announcement of the plans to amend the Constitution last September critics of President Serzh Sargsyan have accused him of trying to tailor a new system to his own political needs and extend his power beyond 2018 when his second and last term in office is due to end. Senior representatives of the ruling party then denied such speculation.

During today’s (April 10) meeting with members of the Commission President Serzh Sargsyan, however, gave assurances that he will not run for president again and if as a result of the discussions the variant of a parliamentary republic is selected, he will not seek to become a prime minister either.

After the approval of the concept by the head of state the Commission will have another 10 months to draft specific constitutional amendments.

The Constitution in Armenia can be amended through a referendum only. The last time a referendum on amending the Basic Law was held in 2005.

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