Main points of newly drafted Syria constitution

DAMASCUS — Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad, who is facing an Arab Spring-inspired uprising, on Wednesday called a referendum for a new constitution to be held on February 27.

By (AFP)

Published: Wed 15 Feb 2012, 11:24 PM

Last updated: Fri 3 Apr 2015, 2:17 PM

Here are the main points in the text of the newly drafted charter:

· It drops Article 8 of the current constitution, which declared the ruling Baath Party, in power since 1963, as the “leader of the state and society,” allowing a multi-party system.

· It bans parties based on religion or ethnicity, which in theory would exclude the Muslim Brotherhood or Kurdish parties.

· The president must be a Muslim man, is elected by universal suffrage and can serve a maximum of two seven-year terms.

Under the current constitution, the Baath Party submits a candidate to parliament which then calls a referendum for approval.

The new charter raises the minimum age of the president from 34 to 40, states that he must be married to a Syrian woman and have lived at least 10 years in Syria.

In both the existing constitution and the new draft, the following powers are the same:

· The president appoints the prime minister and cabinet members, a point that has already been challenged by the opposition, which has called for whichever party gets a parliamentary majority to name the premier.

· The president can enact legislation when parliament is not in session.

· The president, prime minister, cabinet members, MPs and members of the constitutional council may not hold dual nationality.

· It drops all articles referring to a socialist state, culture or economy. It calls for economic development through both the private and public sectors.

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