Armenian parliament votes to resolve constitutional crisis

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YEREVAN, February 7. /ARKA/. Armenia’s National Assembly voted today to hold a national referendum to decide whether to amend Article 213 of the Constitution, implying the dissolution of the Constitutional Court.

The motion was backed by 88 MPs. The Bright Armenia party’s faction voted against. Before voting, an MP from the Prosperous Armenia faction Mikael Melkumyan said their faction would not take part in the vote.

He recalled that PACE monitors have called on Armenian authorities to request a Venice Commission opinion on proposed constitutional changes.

Melkumyan said also that their faction was ready to remain in the chamber until a solution to these legal procedures were found jointly. However, the proposal was denied by the parliamentary majority

“Once again I confirm the position of My Step faction that sovereignty and democracy have no alternatives in Armenia, and the faction will vote for the referendum,” said Lilit Makunts, the leader of the parliamentary majority.

This vote took place after earlier in the day the National Assembly did not pass a bill that would allow the parliament to circumvent the current procedures and dissolve the Constitutional Court.

Before the vote, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan appealed to the judges of the Constitutional Court to resign before the president signs the bill.

If the population votes for the adoption of constitutional amendments, the powers of seven out of nine judges will be terminated. Thus, the Constitutional Court will de facto cease its activity, since a qualified majority will not be secured.

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