YEREVAN, MAY 31. ARMINFO. "Making such a strong and categorical
statement on the project of Armenia's constitutional reforms, the
CE Venice commission fulfilled a definite political order", stated
the leader of the ARFD faction Levon Lazarian in an interview to
ARMINFO's reporter.

In his words, this strong estimation is conditioned by the aspiration
of the CE to keep parity between Armenia and Azerbaijan. Lazarian
noted that the Venice commission has no power to make such a
categorical conclusion comprised of political estimation. "It is
strange that the Venice commission conferred exceptionally with legal
functions made a political estimation to Armenia's constitutional
amendments when this document is being elaborated and cannot be
changed cardinally from the first to the second reading in Parliament",
he stated.

Lazarian stressed that issues concerned with the forthcoming Jun
1 visit of Commission's experts to Armenia, as well as the text of
Commission's conclusion were discussed during May 30 meeting with
Armenia's President Robert Kocharyan.

Authors of constitutional amendments' project were surprised by that
conclusion as they themselves expressed readiness to discuss and
find solutions concerning provisions on which the Venice commission
presented such a strong estimation afterwards. For example, they are
ready to withdraw from the document a provision noted that mayor of
Yerevan is appointed by president.

"We think that it is no need to fix the issue on status of Yerevan
mayor in the Constitution, it may be solved by a special law",
Maktrchyan stated. In his words, the project's authors also intend
to elaborate provisions concerning both rights and powers of local
self-government bodies and the appointment of judges and prosecutors.
Lazarian noted that the project of Armenia's constitutional amendments
will be adopted at the second reading - till June 24 PACE session.

To note, main remarks in the Venice commission's conclusion concerned
with the order of forming both the government and the justice
council, dissolution of parliament, appointment and dismissal of
prime ministers, judges and prosecutors, the issue on president's
participation at governmental sittings, as well as the appointment of
Yerevan mayor. The Venice experts will arrive in Armenia to discuss
in detail the project of constitutional amendments offered by ruling
coalition. -r-