Unexpected Turn for Hrair Tovmasyan


The chair of foreign committee of the National Assembly Ruben Rubinyan has announced that the issue of the composition of the Constitutional Court could be resolved through a mechanism other than the referendum. The reason is that the coronavirus forced to put off the referendum. This may last months so it will be necessary to use another mechanism because it is impossible to put off the issue of the Constitutional Court for many months.

What mechanism Rubinyan means is not clear. The minister of justice Rustam Badasyan has recently sent a letter to the Venice Commission about it.

Different circles of the former ruling system have been announcing that the state of emergency is a way of avoiding a referendum because currently the government has no chance to get 650,000 yes votes. It appears that the former system that was against a referendum in February and March is now demanding a referendum.

And it appears that the government has taken another path. On the one hand, the picture makes the opinion of the former ruling system seem to be correct. On the other hand, not only the Armenian but also other governments say that the infection will last until next year.

The government of Armenia does not seem likely to wait. It is interesting that there has been a letter to the Venice Commission. So far the Venice Commission has urged the Armenian government to refrain from fundamental approaches.

Is the demand of the former ruling system for a referendum explained by the possibility that the Venice Commission has changed its mind and given the Armenian government an opportunity for another mechanism to address the issue of the Constitutional Court? If the solution that was to be achieved through a referendum is meant, the other mechanism will involve a more fundamental action.

Formerly the Armenian government-Venice cooperation reflected the impact of the former system on the Venice Commission. There were even document leaks. Has official Yerevan eliminated this impact and formed another content for work with the commission? Will Venice approve something that it had declined months before? Or has the Armenian government collected additional facts and arguments which will change the decision of the commission? After all, it is notable that the dialogue with Venice starts at the current stage of the toughening conflict with the former ruling system.

Another interesting circumstance is that the dialogue with the Venice Commission, i.e. the Council of Europe, starts against the obviously unfavorable attitude of Moscow towards Yerevan.

It should be noted that recently the US Deputy Assistant Secretary in Washington urged official Yerevan to start a dialogue with Venice over the judicial reform.

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