Syrian parliament approves new election law

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syria parliamentDamascus – Syria’s parliament unanimously approved a new election law Thursday allowing multiple candidates to run for president, opening the door – at least in theory – to other potential contenders besides President Bashar Assad.

The vote comes nearly four months before Assad’s seven-year term as president officially expires. Syrian officials say the presidential elections will be held on time and Assad has suggested he would run again, though he hasn’t confirmed whether he’ll seek re-election.

The poll must be held between 60 and 90 days before Assad’s term ends on 17 July.

Syria has been ruled by the Baath party since it seized power in a 1963 coup. Past presidential elections under Assad and his late father, Hafez Assad, had them as the sole candidate.

Under their rule, previous elections asked voters to cast “yes” or “no” ballots on whether they supported parliament’s nomination of them for the presidency.

The country held a referendum in March 2012 on a new constitution that allowed for a multiparty political system in Syria and multiple presidential candidates.

That referendum, held amid an escalating civil war, was part of gestures of reform meant to defuse the unrest. The opposition dismissed it as an attempt at superficial reforms that do nothing to break the president’s hold on power.

The bill adopted on Thursday says only candidates who lived in Syria for 10 consecutive years prior to nomination can run for president. It also stipulates that candidates should be born to Syrian parents and must not have any other nationality.

State television broadcast the vote live, but the parliament speaker did not say how many lawmakers voted for the bill.

Khalid Saleh, a member of the main Western-backed opposition group, the Syrian National Coalition, said any notion that Assad may run for re-election demonstrates “the uttermost disregard for the blood” of the thousands of Syrians killed.

Against elections

He said in a statement that the election law adopted by parliament was “illegitimate” and said the group “strongly rejects participation of opposition members as candidates against Assad in the presidential elections, as this would imply recognition by us of the legitimacy of his presence in the elections.”

The opposition has categorically refused the notion of presidential elections being held in Syria under the current circumstances. The coalition has called on Assad to step down in favor of a transitional governing body that would administer the country until free presidential and parliament elections can be held.

The Syrian conflict, now entering its fourth year, has killed more than 140 000 people, sent more than 2.5 million fleeing for neighbouring countries and destroyed entire blocks in opposition-held areas of the country.

Issam Khalil, a member of the parliament, dismissed the idea that the law was tailored for Assad.

“The parliament doesn’t accept that but what has been tailored to fit is the will of Syrians alone,” he said at Thursday’s parliament session.

Meanwhile Thursday, a United Nations diplomat said Syria mediator Lakhdar Brahimi told the UN Security Council that the Syrian government used “delaying tactics” during failed peace talks in Geneva.

According to the diplomat, Brahimi said that at the peace talks last month, the opposition agreed to discuss terrorism and the establishment of a transitional governing body in parallel. But Brahimi said the government insisted on concluding the terrorism discussion before starting any talk of a transitional government.

The diplomat spoke on condition of anonymity because Wednesday’s council meeting was closed.

In Lebanon, two people, including a 10-year-old girl, were killed and five others were wounded on Thursday after clashes erupted in the northern city of Tripoli, Lebanese security officials said on condition of anonymity in line with regulations.

Violence related to the war in Syria frequently breaks out between two impoverished rival neighbourhoods in Tripoli, one dominated by Sunni Muslims and the other by Alawite members of Assad’s sect.

Associated Press

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17 responses to “Syrian parliament approves new election law”

  1. 5thDrawer Avatar
    5thDrawer

    Wonder why A. P. sneaked the little bit about Tripoli into that???
    Anyway, we can see all the ‘potential candidates’ just running back into the place to go on the ‘campaign trails’ and try to drum up support with the ‘town meetings’.

  2. The real lebanese Avatar
    The real lebanese

    Does this even matter? Assad will most likely get 147% of the votes anyway

    1. Your not trying to say that the election will be rigged, are you Real. Lol

      1. The real lebanese Avatar
        The real lebanese

        I am.

  3. Leborigine Avatar
    Leborigine

    Since the above article sounds pretty much like foul hot air and many of you are avid bird lovers, I have attached this below pic of our beloved Aussie Galah or Cockatoo, which comes in many colours and are an extremely intelligent bird. Well, at least it is more intelligent than the above pictured politicians. So please enjoy!

    1. Reasonableman Avatar
      Reasonableman

      You beauty!! Still a baby. I wouldve owned a cockatoo but they are too clingy.

      1. I’m glad you said own and not eat. Lol.

      2. Leborigine Avatar
        Leborigine

        They sure are clingy Reasonable. I had a Cockatiel and it used to cry every morning for hours when I left home for work. It used to break my heart man. I eventually set it free because I could not handle it. It still visits me every now and again.

    2. 5thDrawer Avatar
      5thDrawer

      Something to flip at the politicos …… 😉
      (And with some ladies, a cockatoo might be good to have …)

      1. barabie Avatar

        Ur dirty minded

        1. 5thDrawer Avatar
          5thDrawer

          I admit it, Dear. Have been open to ‘suggestions of ladies’ since I was 9. (sigh …)

      2. Leborigine Avatar
        Leborigine

        Hehehe, good one!

    3. Reasonableman Avatar
      Reasonableman

      Do you own any birds?

      1. Leborigine Avatar
        Leborigine

        I don’t have any at the moment. I really want an owl though. I might have to get one illegally as a license is required to purchase one in Australia. I am trained in handing birds, but there is no way i am paying $2400.00 for an owl license! Its bureaucracy gone mad!

    4. Hind Abyad Avatar
      Hind Abyad

      Beautifull, looks like he just landed, wings and white feathers tail in motion..

      1. Leborigine Avatar
        Leborigine

        To be honest, the pic does not do it justice. They are a big charismatic bird and a joy to watch.

  4. 5thDrawer Avatar
    5thDrawer

    “The parliament doesn’t accept that but what has been tailored to fit is the will of Syrians alone,” ……… says Issam Khalil.
    Right … and all the ‘Anti-Democracy’ nuts that pop up against the FSA I’m sure agree with him. They must love this description of ‘Staus Quo’.
    “Syria has been ruled by the Baath party since it seized power in a 1963 coup. Past presidential elections under Assad and his late father, Hafez Assad, had them as the sole candidate.
    Under their rule, previous elections asked voters to cast “yes” or “no” ballots on whether they supported parliament’s nomination of them for the presidency.”
    Hmmmm … almost sounds ‘Caliphatal’.

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