Syria holds 1st multi-party elections as violence rages on

Syria holds 1st multi-party elections as violence rages on

Damascus : Syria | May 07, 2012 at 1:09 PM PDT
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On Monday, Syrians voted in the country’s first multiparty parliamentary election since the adoption in February by referendum of a new constitution that ended the rule of Baath party, which has held power since 1963.

Across the country, 7,195 candidates including 710 women, are vying for 250 parliamentary seats. The new house should adopt a series of reforms promised by the Syria's President Bashar al-Assad on August 2011, according to state news agency SANA news.

Nine new parties were created and approved, thanks to the new Constitution adopted by referendum in February, which removed the article granting the Baath Party, in power since 1963 with the constitutional status of "the leader of state and society."

The approximately 12,000 polling stations should close at 10 p.m. (1900 GMT).

Syrian Interior Minister Mohammad Ibrahim al-Sha’ar said: "We expect the transition of Syria to a pluralistic democratic nation where all citizens are guided by equality and participate in the modeling of the future of their country."

Syrian Information Minister Adnan Mahmoud said Sunday that these laws were a "challenge to the terrorist war" against Syria.

The authorities assured they had taken all necessary measures "to prevent any slippage of security," according to state news agency SANA.

On the other hand, the opposition, which demanded the departure of the president, announced that it was not fooled by the regime's attempts to gain legitimacy and some credibility from the international community through the ballot.

"He who bathes in Syrian blood, pushed to the exodus of two million Syrians has no legitimacy to draft a constitution, enact electoral law or call for elections," the Syrian National Council (SNC), the main opposition coalition, said in a statement released Monday.

On the ground, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said three young men were killed in an ambush by security forces in the region of Deir Ezzor.


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Syria holds 1st multi-party elections as violence rages on
Women vote at a polling station for a parliamentary election, in Damascus. REUTERS
saleh1966 is based in Gaza, Ġazzah, Palestine, and is an Anchor on Allvoices.
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