Following their visit to Yerevan, the co-rapporteurs of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) for Armenia, Axel Fischer (Germany, EPP/CD) and Alan Meale (United Kingdom, SOC) welcomed the intention of the authorities to address some of Armenia’s systemic deficiencies via constitutional reform.
At the same time, the rapporteurs noted the diverging views of this reform among the different political forces in Armenia, especially with regard to a possible change of political system. In that respect they highlighted that, in their view, “the main aims of constitutional reform should be to strengthen political pluralism, accountability of the government towards the national Assembly, and ultimately public trust in the political system”.
Recognising that political trust in the political and election processes is still very low, they recommended that any complicated electoral systems should be avoided as its intention could easily be misunderstood. Moreover, they called upon the authorities to invite international monitors to observe the upcoming referendum and ensure that proper public consultations and debate would take place in its framework. “Comprehensive public debate and fully democratic referendum process are key for the democratic legitimacy of the new constitution,” emphasized the co-rapporteurs.
While most of the public debate focuses on the possible change of political system, the rapporteurs noted that the concept paper for constitutional reforms proposes that comprehensive constitutional amendments be adopted with a view to strengthen the human rights protection mechanisms and the independence of the judiciary. “We welcome this intention and the debates on these chapters should not be overshadowed by the understandable debate on the political system,” stressed the rapporteurs.
The rapporteurs will present their information note on this visit to the Monitoring Committee in September and intend to return to the country in the second semester of this year.