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Index / Political situation /
Open map of SyriaFlag of SyriaSyria /
Political situation

Detailed articleBefore independence
Shukri al-Kuwatli 1943-1949
Husni az-Zaim 1949
Hashim al-Atasi 1949-1951
Adib Shishaqli 1951-1954
Hashim al-Atasi 1954-1955
Shukri al-Quwatli 1955-1958
Nazim al-Kudsi 1961-1963
Luai al-Atasi 1963
Amin al-Hafiz 1963-1966
Nureddin al-Atasi 1966-1970
Ahmet Chatib 1970-1971
Hafez al-Assad 1971-2000
Bashar al-Assad 2000-

People's Assembly
Seats. General election March 2 and 3, 2003.
National Progressive Front 1) 167
Independent candidates 83
Total 250
1) Consists of 7 political parties: Baath Party; Communist Party; Arab Socialist Unionist Party; Syrian Arab Socialist Union Party; Arab Socialist Party; and Socialist Unionist Democratic Party.

Syria has a political system that is not democratic, and all power lies in the hands of the president, Bashar al-Assad.
There are popular elections to the People's Assembly every 4 years. The by far largest group in this assembly is the National Progressive Front, which is lead by the Ba'th Party.
Assad holds total control over Syria through being in command of the Ba'th Party.
Syria's constitution was introduced in 1973, and describes the country as democratic, popular and socialist. According to the constitution, only a Muslim can be president.
The only groups allowed into Syrian politics are the socialists, the communists and the pan-arabists. Islamists have been strongly suppressed in the past, and remain outlawed.
Following the death of long-time president Hafez al-Assad, and the takeover of his son, there have been some lifting on restrictions in Syria. Some political prisoners have been released from jail, and Assad has taken initiatives to ease control over both economy and information technology.
Following the elections of November 30 and December 1 1998 the Ba'ath Party got 135 out of 250 seats in the People's Assembly. The other seats were divided between independent candidates (83), the Communist Party (8), Arab Socialist Unionist Party (7), Syrian Arab Socialist Union Party (7), Arab Socialist Party (6) and Socialist Unionist Democratic Party (4).

By Tore Kjeilen