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Syria: Bill Proposed to Allow New Political Parties

(Aug. 2, 2011) On July 25, 2011, the Syrian government issued a bill that would permit the establishment of various new political parties. Under the umbrella of what is known as its “Political Reform Initiatives,” the Council of Ministers issued a bill that would allow the current political movements in Syria to participate in the country's political life as newly established political parties. These parties would be created in addition to the already existing Al Ba'ath ruling party.

The new bill encompasses conditions and requirements under which new political parties must be registered and created. Additional provisions concern the duties and obligations of those parties. The bill also addresses the legal methods for financing a political party. Finally, it forbids the creation of any party on the grounds of religion, gender, or color and prohibits political parties from creating any private or public military groups or militias.

Syrian opposition groups are not in favor of the bill. In a statement, members of the opposition mentioned that the bill includes certain provisions that make it impossible to create legitimate political parties under the current regime. They also claim that the main purpose of the bill is not to give rise to the creation of real political life in Syria, but rather to enhance the image of the Assad regime in the international community. (A Bill Pertaining to the Creation of Political Parties Is Rejected by Members of the Opposition [in Arabic], AL KHALEEJ NEWSPAPER (July 26, 2011).)