YEREVAN. – The referendum campaign has already begun. At present, we are not conducting a public campaign, but work is being done in the form of preparations and meetings in the provinces and communities of Yerevan. Lilit Makunts, head of the majority My Step faction in the National Assembly (NA) of Armenia, mentioned this in a conversation with reporters in the NA today, adding that the head of the "Yes" campaign headquarters in this referendum will hold a press conference soon and will present what they are going to do.
Referring to the fact that the "No" side will not conduct a campaign as such, Makunts noted that everyone chooses for himself whether or not to participate in the process.
Asked whether the political majority has thus remained alone in its political initiative and that it casts a shadow upon the entire referendum process from the very beginning, the leader of My Step faction said: “The process is legal and constitutional. The referendum relates to only one article of the Constitution that allows for the restoration of the Constitutional Court model that was approved by the 2015 constitutional amendments, which has been endorsed by the international organizations to which it has been sent for a conclusion. Therefore, there is no question of whether or not remaining alone; here it is about fully applying the new Constitution."
To the remark that Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan was skeptical about the Venice Commission in his interview yesterday, but the draft law on early retirement of the serving Constitutional Court judges was sent to the Venice Commission for a conclusion, and to the question why they bypassed the Venice Commission in one case, but not in the other case, Makunts responded: “In 2015, the draft constitution, including the Constitutional Court model that does not work at the moment, was sent to all international structures, including the Venice Commission, and positive conclusions were received. We are now proposing to restore the model that has been approved by the 2015 Constitution. The Constitutional Court, whose model has been approved by international structures, does not work; in other words, we are only reaffirming the Venice-approved package."
Makunts added that they have not yet made a final decision on sending to the Venice Commission, but said they still have time to make a decision.
Asked if the Armenian authorities have any reason not to trust the Venice Commission, she replied: “We have pretty good, close relations with our international partners. At the same time, there are certain worrying circumstances that need to be resolved once and for all before taking a step, or voicing an assessment."