Syrian government passes new political parties law

Reuters News
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Posted: Jul 25, 2011 3:34 AM
Syrian government passes new political parties law

AMMAN (Reuters) - The Syrian cabinet has approved a law that allows the formation of political parties other than the ruling Baath party, provided they adhere to "democratic principles," the state news agency said on Monday.

The Baath party, which has banned opposition groups since a l963 military coup, has been under pressure to abandon its monopoly on power amid a four-month uprising that has called for the toppling of President Bashar al-Assad.

"The establishment of any party has to be based on ... a commitment to the constitution, democratic principles, the rule of law and a respect for freedom and basic rights," the state news agency SANA said, referring to conditions to be met by parties that want to apply for a license to operate legally.

(Reporting by Khaled Yacoub Oweis; Editing by Andrew Heavens)