Assad issues law allowing multiparty government system

Syria's single-party political system now open to formation of parties adhering to “democratic principles”; ends Ba'ath party monopoly.

August 4, 2011 11:28
1 minute read.
Syrian President Bashar Assad speaks, Monday

Assad speaking 311. (photo credit: Screenshot)


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Syrian President Bashar Assad issued a law on Thursday allowing a multiparty government system in Syria, lifting a five decade ban on factions other than the ruling Ba'ath party, according to state-run news agency SANA. 

The Syrian cabinet approved a draft-law on July 24 allowing the formation of additional political parties, provided they adhere to “democratic principles.”

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The development of the draft-law comes during nationwide protests for political reform.

“The establishment of any party has to be based on ... a commitment to the constitution, democratic principles, the rule of law and a respect for freedom and basic rights,” the SANA agency said, referring to conditions to be met by parties that want to apply for a license to operate legally.

The Ba’ath party, which has banned opposition groups since a 1963 military coup, has been under pressure to abandon its monopoly on power during a four-month uprising that has called for the toppling of President Bashar Assad.

Assad issued the law after the Security Council's condemnation of Syria on Wednesday for its violent suppression of anti-government protests throughout the country.

The statement, read out to a council meeting by Indian Ambassador Hardeep Singh Puri, this month's president of the body, "condemns widespread violations of human rights and the use of force against civilians by the Syrian authorities."

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