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President Sargsyan Refuses to Sign Amendments to the Law on Constitutional Court

In a letter to Ararat Mirzoyan, Speaker of the National Assembly, President of Armenia, Armen Sargsyan has informed that he will not sign the package of amendments to the Law on Constitutional Court and related laws.

The package was adopted by the parliament in an extraordinary session succeeding passage of the amendment to the Constitution by which the powers of the Chairman of the Constitutional Court and several judges who have been in tenure for over 12 years were ceased.

In order to ensure recruitment of new members of the Constitutional Court, the National Assembly discussed and passed the package of amendments to the Law on Constitutional Court and Law on Ensuring and Supporting the Work of Officials and Providing them Social Safeguards. By this package, the parliament changed the sequence of nominations of candidates for the vacant seats of Constitutional Court Judges by empowering the government with the first power to propose a candidate, then the President, and only afterwards, the Council of Judges. The amendments also envisaged providing pensions to those members of the Constitutional Court, whose tenure was terminated before the end of their term.

According to the Constitution, the President of the country signs laws passed by the Parliament within 21 days after passage or turns to the Constitutional Court for opinion on the constitutionality of the laws. If the law abides by the constitution, the President signs it within 5 days. Nonetheless, if the President does not sign the law, the Speaker of the Parliament gives a final approval to the law.

The press release of President Sargsyan does not clarify whether he will not sign the amendments and leave it to the discretion of the Parliament Speaker, or whether he will turn to the Constitutional Court.

This is the second time in the past week the Armen Sargsyan expresses his disagreement with the laws passed by the Parliament. Unlike the Law on the Constitutional Court, he expressed his disagreement with the expediency of passing new Property Tax regulations, however he signed it, stating that he is not empowered by the Constitution to veto laws.

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