Jun 4, 2015
“Short Answer: In 1973 the Syrian electorate voted in favour of a constitution that institutionalised the dominance of the Baath Party. This constitution remained in effect until it was replaced by a new one, which the Syrian electorate voted for on the 26th of February, 2012.
Syria’s highest elected body is the unicameral People’s Council (Majlis al Sha’ab), which is comprised of 250 seats that are divided proportionally among its 14 governorates. The President appoints their Cabinet, which consists of ministers with different responsibilities, from among the People’s Assembly.
There were major changes to Syria’s parliamentary system
According to the old constitution the Baath party led a coalition of political parties known as the ‘National Progressive Front’ (1973: Art.8), which could legally contest elections for the People’s Council, meaning that candidates from outside these parties had to run as independents.
This front was formed in 1972 and initially featured the following secular, leftist, and nationalist parties; the Syrian Communist Party, the Arab Socialist Union, the Arab Socialist Movement, and the Organisation of Socialist Unionists.
The new constitution introduced a multi-party political system in the sense that the eligibility of political parties to participate isn’t based on the discretionary permission of the Baath party or on reservations rather on a constitutional criteria.
As such, the new constitution forbids political parties that are based on religion, sect or ethnicity, or which are inherently discriminatory towards one’s gender or race (2012: Art.8) – this means the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood is still banned.