Syria Rejects Proposed Russian Drafted Constitution

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Syria Rejects Proposed Russian Drafted Constitution
by Stephen Lendman
In February 2012, Syrian overwhelmingly approved a new Constitution – 89.4% in favor, 9% opposed, 1.2% of ballots invalidated – despite ongoing war, opposition boycotts, threats, and anti-Assad media campaigns.
Turnout was an impressive 57.4%, given the risks most Syrians took to vote. The Constitution includes 157 articles. Among other reforms, political pluralism was established for the first time, as well as presidential term limits and press freedom.
In March 2016, Assad said “(w)e in Syria assume that the term political transition means the transition from one constitution to another, and a constitution is what defines the form of the needed political composition in the next stage.” 
“Thus, the transition period must be under the current constitution, and we will move on to the new constitution after the Syrian people vote for it.”
“(T)transitional structure or transitional format is a government formed by various Syrian political forces – opposition, independent, the current government and others.”
They alone will determine Syria’s future, free from outside interference, notably from Washington, NATO, Israel, Saudi Arabia and other rogue Arab states.
On January 30, Syrian ambassador to Russia Riad Haddad said his government is studying Moscow’s proposed  constitution, “ready(ing) to hold consultations” on its text.
Sergey Lavrov said the document  “attempts to bring together and find shared points in those approaches that were outlined to us both by representatives of the government and representatives of the opposition, including all those present here, over the past several years.”
At the same time, he added Russia intends imposing its draft on none of the parties involved in working for conflict resolution.
After studying the its provisions, Damascus rejected Article 40, calling for decentralized “people’s societies.” During peace talks in Astana, Kazakhstan last week, Syria’s lead negotiator Bashar al-Jaafari said the notion of federalism would be decided “by all Syrians and not…unilaterally by a single component,” adding:
All ideas, “even one as crazy as federalism, must be put to a democratic vote. It is completely unacceptable for a group of people to create a statelet and call it federalism,” referring to Kurdish sought autonomy and various Islamic groups wanting the same thing.
Damascus wants its sovereignty and territorial integrity protected. Syrians alone will decide how their nation is to be governed, including any changes to its current Constitution.
They want to remain free, independent and secular, what they’ve been fighting for since March 2011.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at
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Stephen Lendman
Stephen Lendman
Stephen Lendman was born in 1934 in Boston, MA. In 1956, he received a BA from Harvard University. Two years of US Army service followed, then an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania in 1960. After working seven years as a marketing research analyst, he joined the Lendman Group family business in 1967. He remained there until retiring at year end 1999. Writing on major world and national issues began in summer 2005. In early 2007, radio hosting followed. Lendman now hosts the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network three times weekly. Distinguished guests are featured. Listen live or archived. Major world and national issues are discussed. Lendman is a 2008 Project Censored winner and 2011 Mexican Journalists Club international journalism award recipient.