ArmInfo.In cases of emergency or martial law in the country, according to the Constitution, a referendum must take place after the emergency or war is eliminated no earlier than 50 days and no later than 65 days. Vahagn Hovakimyan, a lawmaker from the My Step faction, stated this during the presentation of the draft law "On Amending the Constitutional Law on Referendum".
The lawmaker noted that everything was ready for the referendum, however, the state of emergency was announced and the referendum could not be held. <At the same time, it is unclear how events will develop further. It's unclear what will happen to the <Yes> and <No> campaign headquarters, the commissions, etc. We discussed the current situation with representatives of the government and the CEC. Thus, it is proposed that the National Assembly will be able to cancel the decision adopted by Parliament on holding a referendum. I would like to emphasize that a parliament can make such a decision only in a state of emergency or martial law. If the parliament doesn't make such a decision, then the resumption of the referendum process will begin>, Hovakimyan said.
He emphasized that such measures are simply necessary. <The fact is that if the heads or members of the commissions are appointed, then they are exempted from draft and mobilization. And in conditions of martial law, these members of the commission will not be called up, even if they themselves want to be mobilized. This question concerns our security>, the MP said.
Hovakimyan noted that the main goal of the abolition of the referendum is to preserve the health of citizens. <We fear the coronavirus pandemic. The virus spreads not only in Armenia, it is everywhere. We do not intend to endanger the health of our citizens, for us the most important thing is to protect the health of our citizens>, the lawmaker concluded. MP from Prosperous Armenia faction Naira Zohrabyan criticized Hovakimyan. <The solution proposed by you is just a spit on the Constitution. To solve your short-term problems you are making serious changes. Perhaps tomorrow you decide to cancel the parliamentary elections or declare Armenia a presidential country. The referendum institution is clearly defined in the Constitution. I don't see the need for this initiative>, Zohrabyan emphasized.
It should be noted that on February 6 the National Assembly of the Republic of Armenia adopted a decision on submitting draft amendments to the Constitution to the referendum. 88 lawmakers voted for this decision, 15 against. It is a question of introducing amendments to Article 213 of the Constitution, providing for the dissolution of the Constitutional Court. A referendum on constitutional amendments was scheduled for April 5 this year. However, because of the coronavirus epidemic, it had to be canceled.