Syrian official expects new convention to be approved, but downplays reports about VP resignation
A prominent member of the Syrian Ba'ath party expected a new convention prepared in recent months to be approved soon by the Syrian leadership. The new charter is said to change the single party system to a multiparty system, which will open the door for other political parties.
Officials of the National Liberal Front, the Syrian ruling coalition, which include eight parities led by the Ba'ath, have declared that they agreed to issue a new charter to replace the current one, which was written in 1972.
Khalaf Jarad, a prominent Ba'ath member and the editor-in-chief of the state-run Tishreen newspaper, told Albawaba that the new document would be on the agenda of the next Ba'ath regional conference which will discuss it in order to be approved, adding that this step may take place by July 2005.
"This step is an urgent need due to many regional and international developments. There are many articles that need to be changed such as phrases about the former Soviet Union or the West," Jarad conveyed.
An important amendment will be to replace the single party system to a multiparty system.
"The first charter stated that all parties will be under the umbrella of a national federal party. This might have been accepted during the seventies but currently it is impossible. It is not also practical to merge different ideologies under one party no matter how many things you can find in common between them," Jarad added.
Jarad asserted to Albawaba that it is "very beneficial" to try to include as many parties as possible in the decision making process. He also expected elections to take place soon following the approval of the new convention. Jarad noted "as a Syrian citizen I am for widening the horizons of participation in political life as much as possible."
"President Assad himself said that it's possible in the future to have factional based elections. It's more important for the Ba'ath party now to win Syrian public opinion because this is a healthy base for ruling a nation," Jarad stated.
The new convention includes major changes regarding the Syrian stance towards regional political issues. The convention omitted the article known as "The Three Noes" which was approved by Arab countries in Khartoum during the Arab summit in 1967 - No peace with Israel, No negotiation with Israel, and No recognition.
Instead of this, the new charter will call for negotiations with Israel according to the land for peace principle, international decisions and according to Madrid accords.
Regarding this, Jarad said, "I have to admit that Israel does exist but its legitimacy is another story, we have been negotiating with Israel since 1991 in Madrid so I don’t think we have been negotiating with ghosts all that time."
Jarad stressed that the new convention is an internal need and was not imposed by any external forces like the United States, "We in Syria believe that it is time to make domestic reforms. We call it a modernization and development project, this means that we have the same beliefs and basis but we need to update them to adapt to recent developments."
Regarding press reports that Abdul Halim Khaddam, the Syrian vice president decided to resign from his post in the next Ba'ath regional conference, Jarad said there were mere media speculations. "I read some reports regarding Mr. Khaddam's resignation, but I think it's too early to talk about it, despite the facts that the whole issue was not raised. I personally think that it is only media speculations." (Albawaba.com)
© 2004 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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