Elections draft law, facts and realties.

The events that Syria is expressing for four months have imposed a critical situation of demands and demonstrations; Syrian Cabinet worked and still working to fulfill the demands of the peoples, and to study the requests of some Syrians to form the suitable situation and achieve the needed reforms to the Syrian government and the Syrian constitution. President Bashar al-Assad has issued a number of decrees that provide that desired reforms.

Reforming the election law was one of the reforms, it took more than two months to see the light and to be ready to be published, the endorsed draft has been approved by the Cabinet, it is the final form that supposed help to reform the parliament and help to achieve a balanced parliament.

The draft law aims at improving the election process, ensuring the right of the candidates in supervising the process and maintaining the judicial supervision.

It also forming a Higher Judicial Committee for elections with its headquarters in Damascus to monitor the elections and ensure its integrity, in addition to forming judicial sub-committees in every Syrian province affiliated to the higher committee.

People in Syria have received the news of the final draft of the new election law with different reactions and attitudes, many of them encouraged such a step and others analyzed it according to the recent situation in Syria.

Ahmad Faroon , student, he wonders: “according to article 23 of the law, the ministers have the rights to nominate himself as a member of the parliament and keeping his appointment as minister… I will never ever get how on earth this could happen. It doesn’t make sense “

Ammar Al-Ahmad a university student said: “I think we should stop talking about labors and farmers, we are in the 21th century we should wake up, we need a parliament with engineers and doctors, and I don’t agree the fact that 50% of the parliament will be labors and farmers. Another thing is that I think that the parliament members should be Baccalaureate certificate holders and above, not less, our country needs more attention, I think that the new parliament will be a duplicate of the previous one”.

Hassan Ez al-Deen: IT expert Said:” once they asked the blind man what do you wish to happened? He answered: I wish to have eyes that I can see everything. I have only one wish which is reforming the judicial system. I think that when the judicial system is fair, everything well be ok. About the new election law I think that it is all about the judicial system they should concentrate on reforming the judicial system because even if the Cabinet approved one million laws will be in vain without excellent courts”

“I think that the best way is to let the people chose their candidates without imposing any names or persons. This draft is good so far, but it still has the same weak point of the previous law, so let the people bear the responsibility of choosing their own candidates. I will not accept the same weakness point of the previous law.” Sanna Alkhaledy artist said. The draft shows the detailed information about how to be a candidate, the instructions on how to deal with the polls and the sanctions of the illegal operation during and after the elections.

Anas Karkoutly, a shop owner and law student said: “according to the new law they must put a judge next to every election box, for the candidates I insist that any candidate should be a high education certificate holder, because we need a talkative representatives to defend our rights in the parliament, but according to the new law, we will have the same silent people under the same old dome.”

Some people are afraid of the new law draft, they are refusing the discrimination. Tareq Abbas a civil engineer Said: “I can’t understand the benefits of the parties or pluralism we should live in a harmony and as one man, al-Baath Social Party should lead Syria, it is the only way to control the crisis, and to stand against the enemies of Syria.”
Moussab al-Hamwi, teacher said:” I suggest that the voters should vote in their constituency to control the frauds.”

Most of the people we met was unsure or didn’t have the time to discuss or read the law and to negotiate it, however Mr. Saad al-Hares had the chance to analyze it and to put some notes about it, “I suggest for the articles 9/12/14 it should be followed by the condition that assure that the candidate is not a member of any political party. To guarantee the neutrality of the supervisory committees, the article 17 should be amended to be ‘each province and region should be a constituency’ ”.

“I don’t believe that the government still believe that it can imposes everything it creates on the people, such a law is not supposed to be approved by the current parliament because it is not elected legally. For judicial system the problem is not the independence of this system, but it’s about integrity, as it is known that who pays the most will win.” S.M mathematics teacher said.

Dr. Khled Bastamy, a lawyer, said that the criteria and procedures of the implementation of this draft law includes that the local councils and the parliament elections must be free, honest and transparent.

For his part, Joumard Kareem, Kurdish man said that the draft law provides new contemporary elections law, and serves the efforts to integrate the Syrian Kurds into the political national life in Syria.

He pointed out that the draft law allows those who have been granted the Syrian citizenship according to the decree No. 49 to vote and run the local councils and the parliament as well, which is a positive point.

Other academics said that the draft law completes the pack of decrees and legislations that issued in the framework of the reform program.

“Reforming the law is a great and useful step to implement the developing plans in Syria but whatever they do, I mean all these reforms, it is nothing if the government or the cabinet kept the security forces among the people” Ammar Sourojeh doctor said.

For his part, Minister of Local Administration Omar Ibrahim Ghalawanji said that the law included 71 articles, and the most important amendment stipulates for transferring the supervision of elections from the executive authority to the juridical authority.

He indicated that the elections in Syria were always monitored by the Interior Ministry, while the Ministry of Local Administration was responsible for supervising the local council elections.

The Minister added that the draft law forms the Higher Committee for Elections, in addition to forming juridical sub-committees in the provinces and each sub-committee includes three judges to supervise the reprocess at the electoral centers.

Minister Ghalawanji said that the draft law stipulates for establishing electoral centers in the provinces and cities whose population exceed 100,000, in addition to allowing those who got the Syrian citizenship by the Legislative Decree No. 49 to vote and run for the local council membership.

The draft law allows all the will-be-formed parties according to the new Political Parties Law to present their candidates individually, or in collective lists, the Minister added.

He said that the elections will be conducted publicly, honestly and neutrally in secret rooms, and there will be electoral committees to monitor the elections and candidacy committees to receive and examine the candidates’ applications.

Information Minister Adnan Mahmoud said that the draft law is a “quantum leap” toward a democratic Syria. The competing parties in future elections can present their candidates on collective lists or individually at the ballot box. The measure follows similar action regarding the development of opposition parties in the country.

Damascus has unveiled a series of political reforms.

Mr. Tayseer Qlal Awwad: Minister of Justice said that the new law draft depends on the open-list electoral system, and it includes instruction to guarantee the impartiality of the election by preventing the candidates from using or taking advantages or depending on the official employees to support him/ her during the campaign, as well as it includes many new succinctness about how to object the results and the elections process, The Minister of Justice pointed out that the law draft has created a mechanism to enable the blinds and the  persons with disability and illiterate to cast their votes, according to certain procedures.

A ministerial committee was formed to study the notes and proposals for the new draft law and to identify what could be possibly taken to be presented in the next ministerial session due to be held in ten days.

The draft law aims at:

1- Developing the institutional structure through finding qualitative local administrations and simplifying the administrative structure through dividing the administrative units into three levels (province, city, and town).

2- Boosting decentralization through electing a head of the local council by the councils’ members.

3- Enabling local authorities to form or take part in partnerships with public or private bodies. 4- Boosting supervision through popular and official supervision.

5- Boosting administrative units’ financial incomes.

6- Defining the Ministry’s tasks in scope of local councils’ work and their executive offices.

7- Establishing offices for citizen service at the local units.

8- Establishing the Higher Council for Local Administration.

9- Regulate parliamentary and local council elections and ensuring the safety of electoral process and the right of candidates to supervise the process.

The law provided for forming a Damascus-based judicial committee, called the Higher Committee for Elections, which will take charge of supervising the elections and taking all necessary measures to secure the integrity and freedom of elections.

The committee includes five judges and enjoys full independence.

Judicial sub-committees will be formed in each province, which will be affiliated to the Higher Committee and work under its supervision.

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