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Armenian Lawmakers Approve Nominees To Constitutional Court Amid Opposition Boycott

The Constitutional Court building in Yerevan
The Constitutional Court building in Yerevan

YEREVAN – The Armenian parliament has approved the nomination of three new judges to the Constitutional Court amid a standoff between sacked court members and the government.

The lawmakers overwhelmingly backed the nominations in secret ballots on September 15 that were boycotted by opposition parties.

A total of 88 lawmakers took part in the votes.

Judges Yervand Khundkarian, Artur Vargharshian, and Edgar Shatirian were nominated by the national convention of Armenian judges, the president, and the government, respectively.

On September 15, lawmakers representing the opposition Prosperous Armenia and Bright Armenia parties announced they would boycott the votes and again questioned the legality of constitutional changes enacted by the pro-government majority in parliament.

The changes call for the gradual resignation of seven of the Constitutional Court’s nine judges, who have been locked in a standoff with Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian’s political team.

Three of the judges were to resign immediately, while Hrayr Tovmasian had to quit as court chairman but remain a judge.

Tovmasian and the ousted judges refused to step down, saying that their removal is illegal and politically motivated. They appealed to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) to have them reinstated.

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