By Ruzanna Khachatrian
The Armenian parliament ignored strong opposition objections to pass a controversial law on civil service in the second final reading on Tuesday.
The bill branded unconstitutional by the opposition aims to protect civil servants against arbitrary sackings and reduce corruption in the state bureaucracy. It was twice rejected by the parliament before being passed in the first reading in July.
Heated debates centered on a controversial provision giving President Robert Kocharian authority to name all seven members of a state commission that would decide on key appointments in the civil service. Opposition factions in the National Assembly claim that the Armenian constitution does not give the president such authority.
However, the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe, which has examined the legislation, has concluded in a report that the controversial clause does not contradict the constitution.