Monday, July 25, 2011

The Basharian Way of Democracy

The Syrian government has adopted a draft allowing for different political parties along the long time ruling Baath Party. The adoption of the draft, which ultimately forces the government to abandon Article 8 that claims the Baath Party to be the only leader of the Syrian state and society, is seen as one of the government’s few efforts to calm four months of protests. However, the significance of the adoption seems to be rather limited, if not to say ridiculous, as the law appears to forbid “parties founded on the basis of religion, or tribal or regional affiliation”, completely ignoring that these are the most prevalent affiliations in Syrian society; the best examples being the Muslim Brotherhood and the Kurds. Furthermore, the government states: “the establishment of any party has to be based on a commitment to the constitution, democratic principles, the rule of law and respect for freedom and basic rights” adding a highly confusing and contradictory flavour to this farcical and embarrassing attempt of implementing democracy. Whether it will be taken seriously by any protesters remains to be seen, but the chances are that this will just put the government in an even more awkward situation, perhaps even unifying many of the originally fractioned oppositional groups.

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