[07:04 pm] 02 December, 2008

Parliamentary discussions on the law on "Referendums" are over and the
bill will be put up for a vote tomorrow morning by the first reading.

However, the discussions were rather heated up. Independent deputy
Victor Dallakyan recalled the fate of one referendum on which the
Constitutional Court had made a decision to make changes to the
law on "Referendums" in a year and hold a referendum on Kocharyan's
confidence. Unfortunately, the National Assembly turned into a barracks
of bandits that attacked the people, who on April 12, 2004 demanded
them to fulfill the decision of the Constitutional Court and hold a
referendum of confidence.

Dallakyan brought up some issues on whether the Republic of Armenia
has the right to hold a referendum in connection with the sovereign
state. He proposed to radically change the situation by not reserving
the president the right to pass the government's decision to hold
a referendum because he already has the right to put a veto on the
government's decisions.

Head of the "Heritage" faction Armen Martirosyan proposed to organize
a petition and give people the right to hold a referendum.

"Prosperous Armenia" party member Naira Zohrabyan called the speeches
connecting the bill with the Karabakh conflict absurd and wondered
why the people shouldn't know what the government thinks.

The fact of the matter is that it makes no difference," this is what
Republican Galust Sahakyan had to say and added: "Who said that the
people will decide, for example, the Karabakh conflict? The president
will be the one to decide."

"This is an attempt to put responsibility on the people's shoulders,"
says "Heritage" deputy Zaruhi Postanjyan who believes that the bill
is ordered by Serzh Sargsyan. Postanjyan also underscored that the
administration that falsified the elections can easily falsify the
results of the referendum.

ARF deputy Artsvik Minasyan agreed with the opposition. "If we make
a decision by referendum, form public opinion and if that opinion
is not legal, it becomes nonsensical to debate the issue in the
Constitutional Court as well."

In order to not underestimate the referendum institution, Artsvik
Minasyan proposed that such important issues be discussed as part of
different bills, particularly the passing of a new law on Karabakh.

The Republican and "Prosperous Armenia" parties will vote for the bill,
"Heritage" will vote against it and the others still have time to
decide. "Rule of Law" remained neutral during the discussion.