Parliament Has ‘No Power’ To Overturn Referendum – Former Justice Minster.

The National Assembly has no discretionary power to revoke the plans for a constitutional referendum, a former minister of justice said today, addressing the recently initiated bill.

In comments to Tert.am, David Harutyunyan criticized the proposed amendments to the Law on Referendum as an anti-constitutional effort, questioning  also the expediency of holding a parliament debate without receiving the Venice Commission’s advice. “It is known to all that the Venice Commission’s response is due at its upcoming session on June 20. But what the parliamentary majority is planning now is to hold a debate and a voting ahead of that. It is an absolutely incomprehensible process for me; I think it is either due to a some occurrence or, probably, information received by the ruling majority that they are now pressing ahead with a bill for which they had requested the Venice Commission’s opinion,” he noted.

The former minister said he treats the kind of haste as part of the attempts to create an “obedient” Constitutional Court. He cited the prosecutions involving Hrayr Tovmasyan, the CC chairman, as well as his close people, and the law proposing early retirement to the high court judges as real efforts linked to the authorities’ concerns over the referendum outcome.
Asked why the governing majority had not turned to the European colleagues before moving ahead with the referendum decision, Harutyunyan hesitated to give specific comments. “It is hard for me to give evaluations to their illogical steps,” he added.

The bill, which was on the legislative’s agenda on Wednesday, proposes mechanisms to vest the National Assembly with the power to cancel a nationwide referendum in force majeure situations like a state of emergency or martial law.

H/T Tert

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