Constitution of Syria
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politics and government of
|Syrian Arab Republic|
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|Text of the Constitution|
|Preamble and Chapter 1|
Powers of the State
The Judicial Authority
General and Transitory Provisions
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The current Constitution of the Syrian Arab Republic was adopted on 26 February 2012, replacing one that had been in force since 13 March 1973. The current constitution delineates the basic function of that state's government. Among other things, it determines Syria's character to be Arab, democratic, and republican. Further, in line with pan-Arab ideology, it describes the country as a region of the wider Arab world and its people as an integral part of the Arab nation.
The Syrian Constitution of 1930, drafted by a committee under Ibrahim Hananu, was the founding constitution of the Syrian Republic under the French Mandate. It was replaced by the Constitution of 5 September 1950, which was restored following the Constitution of 10 July 1953 and the Constitution of the United Arab Republic. It was eventually replaced by the Provisional Constitution of 25 April 1964 which itself was replaced by the Provisional Constitution of 1 May 1969.
Constitution of 1973
A new constitution was adopted on 13 March 1973 and was in use until 27 February 2012. It entrenched the power of the Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party, its §8 describing the party as "the leading party in the society and the state", even if Syria was not, as is often believed, a one-party system in formal terms. The constitution had one amendment in 1981 which required the President to be of Muslim faith, and a second amendment in 2000 which set the minimum age of the President from 40 to 34.
Constitution of 2012
- It abolished the old article 8, which had entrenched the power of the Ba'ath party. The new article 8 reads: "The political system is based on the principle of political pluralism, and rule is only obtained and exercised democratically through voting."
- In a new article 88, it introduced presidential elections and limited the term of office for the president to seven years with a maximum of one re-election.
The referendum resulted in the adoption of the new constitution, which came into force on 27 February 2012. The constitution guarantees equal rights and opportunities under the law, supplemented by labor laws which guarantee equal pay and maternity benefits for women. Effective power in Syria rests with the President of the Republic (since 2000, Bashar al-Assad, re–elected in 2014), who, according to §84 of the old constitution, was elected in an uncontested popular referendum on the proposal of the Syrian branch of the Ba'ath Party. However, in accordance with the new constitution, other parties withheld an opportunity to assume presidential roles in the country, evident as of the 2014 Syrian election.
This current constitution was a result of a constitutional referendum held in Syria on 26 February 2012. In response to the Syrian uprising, President Bashar al-Assad ordered a new constitution to be drafted. This constitutional referendum was not monitored by foreign observers.
The Constitution is divided into 6 parts (excluding the Introduction) which are called Chapters.
- Chapter 1: Basic Principles
- Chapter 2: Rights, Freedoms and the Rule of Law
- Chapter 3: State Authorities
- Chapter 4: The Supreme Constitutional Court
- Chapter 5: Amending the Constitution
- Chapter 6: General and Transitional Provisions
- "Syria's Assad to 'End' One-Party Rule". ibtimes.com. 15 February 2012. Retrieved 15 April 2018.
- "English Translation of the Syrian Constitution". Qordoba. 15 February 2012. Retrieved 28 February 2012.
- "Presidential Decree on Syria's New Constitution". Syrian Arab News Agency. 28 February 2012. Retrieved 28 February 2012.
- Hamand, J. "Girls ahead in Syria". People Planet. 2: 17. PMID 12318179.
- The 1930 Syrian Constitution (in its French version) is integrally reproduced in: Giannini, A. (1931). Le costituzioni degli stati del vicino oriente. Istituto per l’Oriente.
- Constitution of Syria (1973) at the International Constitutional Law (ICL) Project
- Constitution of Syria (2012) (CC-BY-licensed English translation by Qordoba)
- Constitution of Syria (2012) (English translation by the UNHCR)