Other political parties allowed in new law
Prime Minister Adel Safar chaired a Cabinet meeting on Sunday in which a new law was agreed which will allow for new political parties in addition to the Ba’ath Party. The SANA news agency lists the requisites for establishing a party as:
1. Commitment to the constitution, principles of democracy and the rule of law, respecting liberties, basic rights, world declarations of human rights and the agreements approved by the Syrian Arab Republic
2. Preserving the unity of the homeland and bolstering society’s national unity
3. Making public the principles, goals, methods and funding of a party
4. A party cannot be based on religious, tribal, regional, denominational, or profession-related basis or on the basis of discrimination due to ethnicity, gender or race
5. A party’s formation, selection of leadership and commencement of activities must be carried out using democratic basis
6. A party’s methods must not include establishing public or covert military or paramilitary formations, nor must it use violence of any kind, threaten with it, or instigate it
7. A party cannot be a branch of a non-Syrian party or political organization, nor can it be affiliated to one.
The full bill includes 40 articles all of which have yet to be seen.
The new law will create a number of immediate problems including the requirement for a change in the constitution because the Ba’ath party is the only recognised party. Also the Ba’ath Party would require some major changes to its organisation because, in essence, it is an Alawite party and would therefore be in breach of rule number 4 above.
Members of the opposition have said that there can be no discussions until after President Bashar al-Assad has left office. There was widespread scepticism about the move which is seen as being too little too late and with little trust in anything the regime promises.
Meanwhile Syrian armed forces are still laying siege to a number of towns across Syria including their latest target, Homs. A number of arrests were made in Damascus over the weekend and Monday.