Syria set to hold parliamentary election

Syria is set to hold its next parliamentary election in mid-July amid President Assad’s plans to revitalise his ruling Ba’ath Party, according to The National News and agencies on May 12th.

Syria’s legislative authority is called The People’s Assembly and is made up of 250 members, each elected for a four-year term.

The Ba’ath party has ruled Syria following a bloodless coup in 1963.

President Bashar Al Assad heads the authoritarian regime, belonging to the Alawite minority.

The Syrian parliament has been compared to a “rubber stamp” system where it exercises little control against Assad and top elites.

Syrian state TV reported that President Assad signed a decree deciding the election day on July 15th.

Long-term regulations allocate two-thirds of parliamentary seats to the Ba’ath party and the National Progressive Front, a loyalist party.

Members are voted in through party blocs – that is by politics party rather than individual – in 15 multi-member constituencies.

A decade of civil war has seen President Assad keen to revamp the parliament.

READ: Syria: A return to former TV glory? 

Syrian political commentator Aymen Abdel Nour said the election would usher in a different “flavour” for the Ba’ath party.

Abdel Nour also added that while the President retained the post of secretary general, the internal elections were held without external interference.

“He wanted to find out the currents within his base and the best way to do that was to let them compete,” said the commentator.

There are 1.5 million Ba’athist members out of a population of 20 million.

Two-thirds live in areas under the government’s control.

Meanwhile, Syria’s government has failed to tackle the severe crises plaguing the country amid wide scale corruption.

In the last parliamentary election, held in 2020, the Baath party primaries “were marked by limited participation, accusations of corruption and widespread objections”, as reported by the European University Institute in Florence.

The report also said that there was influence from “outside the traditional [Baath] party structure” included figures supported by the President’s wife, Asma Al Assad.

READ: UN appeals for $4bn for Syrian food crisis 

The Syrian pound has plummeted in value with hyperinflation skyrocketing since the start of the civil war in 2011.

The health care system is also on the verge of collapse after years of devastating violence.

Regardless of the parliamentary members voted in, they wield practically no power against Assad and his elites, making any real change unlikely.


The National News / Agencies

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