The People’s Assembly is to convene on Thursday for the first time in the first legislative term for 2012 according to Decree No. 172 for 2012 and based on Article 64 of the Syrian Constitution approved last February.

According to Paragraph 2 of Article 64 of the Constitution and the Assembly’s statute, the Assembly, which is to be headed at its first meeting by the eldest attending member, with the youngest two members undertaking the secretariat, elect the Speaker and members of the Assembly’s Office by secret ballot.

The Assembly’s members are to be sworn in at the first meeting of the newly elected Assembly.

The People’s Assembly elections were conducted on May 7th, 2012 under the new constitution and the General Elections law and with independent judicial supervision represented by the Higher Committee for Elections and judicial subcommittees.

250 members were elected out of 7195 candidates from all spectrums of society. The vote percentage reached 51.26 out of 5186957 voters. The Number of elected women amounted to 30 and the number of members elected for the first time reached 209.

The parliamentary elections included the participation of the political forces and blocs, licensed parties and independent personalities, individually or joined in lists of party and political alliances under media coverage of about 200 Arab and foreign media outlets.

The People’s Assembly is elected every four years. It consists of 250 members according to Decree 113 for 2012, 172 of whom represent the workers and farmers sector, while the other 123 members represent the rest of the sectors.

H. Said

Foreign Ministry: Recent Legislative Elections Were Conducted under New Set of Laws that Guarantee Transparency and Honesty

Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates considered the 2012 legislative elections as a new experience for Syria notwithstanding the important role the People’s Assembly has played over years.

The Ministry’s remark came in a document submitted to the UN Security Council, the UN General Assembly and the Human Rights Council on the recent legislative elections in Syria from a human rights perspective and in light of Syria’s international commitments and the role of these elections in the process of comprehensive national reform.

The document clarified that the elections were conducted under a new set of laws formulated according to the highest international standards in a way to ensure equal right to representation for all spectrums of society and guarantee transparency, honesty and the individuals’ right to freedom of opinion and expression as well as their right to be affiliated with the various political parties according to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and a number of resolutions adopted by the Human Rights Council and the UN General Assembly which Syria has agreed on and pledged to implement.

The Ministry presented in its document detailed information about the proceedings of the electoral process including the objections submitted and the re-run of elections at certain polling centers, reflecting the atmosphere of freedom and democracy in which the elections were conducted in implementation of the Elections Law.

Regarding the number of seats for elected women, the Ministry said that the percentage was good taking into account the extraordinary circumstances in which the elections were conducted, stressing continuous efforts to enable women to gain a better percentage next time that demonstrates their special position in the Syrian society and the efforts exerted to empower women politically and economically.

“Despite the fact that these elections were run in line with the new set of laws that are aimed at comprehensive political, democratic, economic and social reform which places the issue of human rights among its most important priorities in response to the people’s legitimate rights, yet the terrorists allied with the armed groups did not want this process to be a success, neither did they want the progress and reform process in Syria to continue,” said the Foreign Ministry’s document.

“Those terrorists wanted to impose extremism, Salafism and terrorism on the Syrian society so as to give themselves and their supporters the excuses to continue carrying arms, killing, kidnapping and torturing the Syrians, vandalizing their properties and violating human rights,” the document added.

The Ministry said while some armed terrorist groups worked on disrupting the electoral process in some regions through threatening citizens not to participate, their supporters and funders outside took control of media misleading about the electoral process.

The Ministry stressed that the Syrian people rejected the threats and that the popular participation in the elections was wide, taking into consideration the accompanying circumstances, which came in response to the voice of reform and to experience the new democratic process.

The Ministry concluded that the successes and setbacks which accompanied the electoral process made it a unique experience Syria is to learn from and build on towards future reform steps.

R. Raslan/ H. Said