Draft concept of constitutional reforms submitted to the President of Armenia

The draft concept paper on the Constitutional Reforms of the Republic of Armenia has been submitted to the President of the republic. The draft concept was approved during yesterday’s sitting of the Professional Commission for the Constitutional Reforms on October 14.

The conclusions of the Venice Commission on the draft concept have also been submitted to the President. The opinion adopted by the Commission at a sitting on October 13 reads, in part: “The Draft concept paper is a good and valuable basis for the preparation of a concrete package of proposals for the reform of the Constitution of the Republic of Armenia, which would strengthen democratic principles and establish the necessary conditions for ensuring the rule of law and respect for human rights within the country. It is based on a comprehensive and consistent analysis of the situation in the country.

The aim of the Draft is to bring the country closer to fully implementing the basic values of the Council of Europe. While it would bring substantial change, it does not constitute a break with the current constitutional system. It will build on the constitutional reform that was adopted in 2005, correcting some of the deficiencies which have appeared in its implementation.

The aims and the overall approach of the reform therefore deserve strong support. The legal positions expressed in the Draft are in line with the Venice Commission’s traditional positions and the Venice Commission notes that the views expressed by its rapporteurs during the various exchanges of views were taken into account.

While the paper is based on a comprehensive legal analysis of the situation, some of the choices made, such as the option in favour of a parliamentary system of government, also contain a political element and will have to be debated extensively in the country. In any case, a comprehensive constitutional reform can be carried out only on the basis of broad consensus within society.

The Venice Commission notes that, on the basis of its opinion, the Draft concept paper will be revised and submitted to the President of the Republic of Armenia. Thereafter, the Draft will have to be transformed into a concrete set of constitutional amendments. The Venice Commission encourages the Armenian authorities and the constitutional reform commission to pursue their efforts to involve the public and all stakeholders, in particular political parties. In its opinion, the Draft concept paper provides an opportunity for reform that should not be missed.

The Venice Commission will be pleased to continue its cooperation with the Armenian authorities for this important reform.”

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