Constitution of Syria

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Coat of arms of Syria.svg
This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
Syria
Syrian Arab Republic
Coat of Arms of Syria

This article is part of the series:
Syrian Constitution of 13 March 1973


Text of the Constitution
Arabic, English
Preamble and Chapter 1
Basic Principles
Chapter 2
Powers of the State
Chapter 3
The Judicial Authority
Chapter 4
General and Transitory Provisions

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The Constitution of Syria delineates the basic function of that state's government. Among other things, it determines Syria's character to be Arab, democratic and republican. Further, in line with pan-Arab ideology, it describes the country as a region of the wider Arab world and its people as an integral part of the Arab nation.

History

Older versions of the constitution include one drafted by Ibrahim Hananu and subsequent Provisional Constitution of 25 April 1964. The previous version, in use until 27 February 2012, entrenched the power of the Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party, its §8 describing the party as "the leading party in the society and the state", even if Syria was not, as is often believed, a single-party system in formal terms.1 Effective power in Syria rests with the President of the Republic (since 2000, Bashar al-Assad, reelected in 2007), who, according to §84 of the old constitution, was elected in an uncontested popular referendum on the proposal of the Syrian branch of the Baath Party.

The constitution guarantees equal rights and opportunities under the law, supplemented by labor laws which guarantee equal pay and maternity benefits for women.2

2012 revision

During the 2011–2012 Syrian uprising, a new constitution was put to a referendum. Amongst other changes,

  • it abolished the old article 8 which entrenched the power of the Ba'ath party. The new article 8 reads: "The political system is based on the principle of political pluralism, and rule is only obtained and exercised democratically through voting.";3
  • in a new article 88, it introduced presidential elections and limited the term of office for the president to seven years with a maximum of one re-election.3

The referendum resulted in the adoption of the new constitution, which came into force on 27 February 2012.4

Overview

This current constitution was a result of a constitutional referendum held in Syria on the 26th of February 2012. In response to the Syrian uprising, President Bashar al-Assad ordered a new constitution to be drafted. This constitutional referendum was not monitored by foreign observers.

The Constitution is divided into 6 parts (excluding the Introduction) which are called Chapters.

  • Introduction
  • Chapter 1: Basic Principles
  • Chapter 2: Rights, Freedoms and the Rule of Law
  • Chapter 3: State Authorities
  • Chapter 4: The Supreme Constitutional Court
  • Chapter 5: Amending the Constitution
  • Chapter 6: General and Transitional Provisions

References

  1. ^ http://www.ibtimes.com/syrias-assad-end-one-party-rule-410958
  2. ^ "Girls ahead in Syria", National Center for Biotechnology Information. 1993. Accessed June 11, 2011
  3. ^ a b "English Translation of the Syrian Constitution". Qordoba. 15 February 2012. Retrieved 28 February 2012. 
  4. ^ "Presidential Decree on Syria's New Constitution". Syrian Arab News Agency. 28 February 2012. Retrieved 28 February 2012. 

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