Sunday, August 7, 2011

Syria promises free, fair elections

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem, file photo

Source: Press TV

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem has announced that the country will hold free and transparent parliamentary elections by the end of the year.

“The Syrian leadership still stresses that national dialogue is the way to solve the current crisis, and in the absence of such dialogue due to the opposition's negative stances, we have no other choice but to go down the path of reforms without leaving it hostage to any hindering factor,” Muallem said on Saturday after reviewing President Bashar al-Assad's reform package.

He further said that the government is committed to implementing Assad's promised the reforms as the Syrian leadership is devoted to maintaining security and stability and to lead the country towards democracy and progress, the Syrian Arab News Agency reported.

Assad issued a decree on Thursday, authorizing a multi-party political system in the country.

The decree paves the way for the establishment of political parties and allows them to function alongside the country's Baath Party, which has been in power since 1963, with the constitutional status of the “leader of state and society.”

Syria has been experiencing unrest in the past months, with demonstrations held both against and in support of the Assad government. Hundreds were killed when some protest rallies turned into armed clashes between alleged protesters and state security forces as well as organized attacks by well-armed gangs against the Syrian police force and border guards in the north of the country.

The Syrian opposition accuses security forces of being behind the killings, but the government blames the deadly violence on armed gangs.

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