A referendum on constitutional changes planned by the Armenian authorities will likely take place by the beginning of 2016, the chairman of the country’s Constitutional Court, Gagik Harutiunian, said on Thursday.
“I suppose that at best it can take place in late 2015 or early 2016,” he told a news conference. “I believe that holding it later would not be logical given the fact that 2017 should see parliamentary elections and 2018 presidential elections. Those changes need to be made at least one year before [the elections.]”
Harutiunian met the press after an ad hoc presidential commission headed by him unveiled its draft “concept” of constitutional reform sought by President Serzh Sarkisian. He said the final version of the document will be circulated in July after “public discussions” planned by the commission. The body comprising top state officials will set about drafting concrete amendments to the Armenian constitution if the proposed framework is approved by Sarkisian, he said.
The Armenian constitution can be amended only through referendums. Amendments can take effect if they are backed by the majority of referendum participants making up at least one-third of the country’s 2.4 million eligible voters. A considerable part of them live abroad and are not able to vote.