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Referendum in Armenia driven by political interests - PACE

Referendum in Armenia driven by political interests - PACE

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Date: 8 December 2015 13:27

Baku, Azerbaijan, Dec. 8

By Elmira Tariverdiyeva – Trend:

The relatively low turn-out, around 50 percent of the population, reflects the fact that the referendum in Armenia was driven by political interests, the preliminary conclusion of the observation mission of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) published on its official website said.

The document was signed by head of PACE observation mission, MP from Switzerland Andreas Gross, MP from Switzerland Doris Fiala, PACE Co-Rapporteur of the Monitoring Committee on the monitoring for Armenia Alan Meale.

Thus, the core of the constitutional change - the shift from a presidential to a parliamentary system - was understood by too many citizens as being a means for the current president to remain in power after the end of his second (and what would have been final) term, the statement said.

The two-and-a-half-year reform process was not inclusive enough, the parliament having only a few weeks to discuss the text and public debate being limited to two months, making it difficult for an agreement to be reached, according to the statement.

After a somewhat low-key campaign with little public debate and a calm referendum day, according to preliminary results, around 64 percent of those who voted did so in favour of the changes, thus meeting the quorum of 25 percent of the registered voters needed to approve the changes, the mission observes said.

The PACE co-rapporteurs mention several problems which took place during the voting in Armenia, and many of them were already mentioned in previous PACE, Venice Commission and OSCE/ODIHR recommendations.

The referendum on constitutional reform in Armenia was held December 6. Draft amendments to the Basic Law provide for the country's transition to a parliamentary system of government.

More than 63 percent of participants of the referendum voted in favor of the adoption of amendments to the Constitution, opposed by over 32 percent of voters, according to preliminary data.

Official results of the referendum will be published a week after the end of voting.

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