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YEREVAN, SEPTEMBER 1. ARMINFO. Today Armenian MPs adopted the draft constitutional reforms in the second reading by 98 votes “for.”

In his speech, Vice Speaker Tigran Torosyan said that adoption of draft constitutional reforms at November referendum will open wide prospects for further democratic development of the country. He said the draft considerably differs from the effective Constitution of Armenia. Thus, the document secures a real balance between the power branches, creates guaranties of independence of the judicial power. It also expands the powers of the local self-government bodies and guarantees observation of human rights and freedoms, the vice speaker said.

Torosyan said fundamental changes are proposed in the sphere of government formation. The draft deprives the president of his right to dismiss the prime minister, the president is empowered to propose the parliament to made such a decision. Besides, the draft provides the president for appointing the prime minister in case of a relevant proposal by the absolute parliamentary majority or at least relative majority. Torosyan thinks an important step that the draft provides for formation of the government on the basis of a special law and not by the decree of the president. All this provisions evidently restrict the president’s powers and expand those of the legislative power, the vice speaker said. He also said the draft increases in the role of the executive power in the domestic political and foreign political processes, as in conformity with the draft, the president is no longer head of the government and the decision by the executive power are not subject to the president’s ratification.

Torosyan called it important that the draft does not consider the president head of the Armenian Justice Council, and the procedure of advancing candidates for the membership of the Council is regulated by the law, which creates real guarantees of independence of the judicial power. He thinks important that the draft provides for election of Yerevan Mayor and not appointment. The effective Constitution allows governors to make proposals to the government on dismissal of the heads of the communities, meanwhile, the draft allow making such decisions only the Constitutional Court.

Besides, the draft allows the communities to establish inter-community unions and independently form and use community budgets. He also pointed out the reforms related the activity of the Supervisory Chamber, stating that existence of an independent Supervisory Chamber and constitutional guaranties of its independence upgrade its role. Torosyan called an important step towards human rights protection the fact that the draft provides the parliament for appointing Ombudsman. Besides, each citizen of Armenia as a right to apply to the Constitutional Court to protect his rights and freedoms.

It should be noted the parliamentary opposition represented by the Justice bloc and the National Unity party did not take part in the voting and refused from supporting the draft reforms, calling its supporters to vote against the document at November referendum.

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