An ad hoc commission on constitutional reform formed by President Serzh Sarkisian is leaning towards proposing Armenia’s transformation into a parliamentary republic, one of its members said on Friday.
“In our draft concept [for the reform,] we are now putting the emphasis on the parliamentary system,” Vartan Poghosian told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am).
The commission headed by Constitutional Court Chairman Gagik Harutiunian made no definitive recommendations on Armenia’s government system in in the preliminary version of the concept released last spring. But it did call for a significant reduction of sweeping powers enjoyed by the president of the republic.
The commission is due to submit the final version of the reform framework to Sarkisian by October 15. It will start drafting concrete amendments to the Armenian constitution after the president holds official negotiations with the country’s main political forces later this year.
“The results of those consultations should naturally have an impact on the second phase of the commission’s work,” said Poghosian.
Only one major opposition party, the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun), has expressed readiness to back the reform so far. The other opposition forces have rejected it out of hand. They say that it is aimed at enabling Sarkisian to stay in power after he completes his final presidential term in 2018.
The Armenian constitution can be amended only through a referendum. Officials have said that it will take place by the beginning of 2016.