Syria Set To Allow Opposition Parties

The Baathist regime in Syria looks to be bending to the will of the people. What was once thought unthinkable, maybe even suicidal, to the ruling regime, Baath party members have decided on a draft law that would allow the formation of organized opposition.

However, the appearance of loosening its grip and letting democracy sprout up may be a stretch at this point.

The draft approved yesterday lays out the governing principles and terms related to the setting up of parties and their functioning, the state-run Syrian Arab News Agency said. Any new party must be founded with a “commitment to the provisions of the constitution, democratic principles, the rule of law and a respect for freedom and basic rights,” SANA said, adding that a party must “not be based on religious or tribal lines, or discriminate due to ethnicity, gender or race.”

Key to the governing principals and “provisions of the constitution” is the fact that the Syrian Constitution states that the Baath party shall be the ruling party in Syria ahead of all state institutions. It would take an amendment to Article 8 of its Constitution to give this move any credibility.

Syrian President Assad is unlikely to reform himself out of power.

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