YEREVAN — The Armenian government has started forming an ad hoc commission tasked with drafting fresh amendments to Armenia’s constitution.
Under an executive order signed by Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, the commission will consist of 15 members, including Justice Minister Rustam Badasyan, the government’s representative to the European Court of Human Rights, human rights ombudsman Arman Tatoyan and a representative of the country’s judges.
It will also comprise six legal scholars, who will be chosen by the Justice Ministry on a competitive basis, two civil society members and representatives of the three political forces represented in the Armenian parliament.
The government officially announced plans to amend the constitution in October as part of its strategy of reforming the national judicial and electoral systems. The strategy calls for constitutional changes relating to the work of judicial bodies and conduct of elections.
Vahagn Hovakimyan, a senior lawmaker from Pashinian’s My Step alliance, told RFE/RL’s Armenian service on Tuesday that the commission will also discuss the wisdom of restoring the presidential system of government in the country. Asked whether the current authorities are intent on engineering such a change, he said: “There have been no such discussions.”
The current constitution underwent sweeping changes as a result of a disputed referendum held in 2015. They led to Armenia’s transformation into a parliamentary republic.
Former President Serzh Sarkisian initiated that constitutional reform in an effort to hold on to power after completing his second and final presidential term in April 2018. He was toppled in the ensuing “Velvet Revolution” led by Pashinyan.