Syria: Local Elections Open New Chapter

Damascus, Dec 12. -Syrians are voting on Monday to elect town councilors, mayors and provincial governors, an action that opens a new chapter in the political life of this country inhabited by 22.5 million people.The new Electoral and Parties Laws, in accordance with the reform process, have made possible the creation of new organizations and their participation in the country´s political life.

The laws have also allowed the opposition to participate in the election process, an unprecedented event up to the present, as well as the presentation of 42,889 independent candidates competing for 17,588 administrative posts.

Nearly 11 parties are competing in the elections, while seven of them are part of the National Progressive Front (NPF), headed by the Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party, whose secretary general is President Bashar al-Assad and to which are associated the General Federation of Trade Unions (GFTU) and the General Union of Peasants.

An expert on Syrian issues warned that the elections are taking place under 1973 Constitution given that the new one is being devised and there is not much information about the new details that shape the political picture developing in Syria.

Nearly 9,849 polling stations were set up in 154 cities and 502 towns in the 681 municipalities of the country, the National Electoral Council (NEC) reported.

The preparation and development of the elections is controlled by the newly created National Electoral Council (NEC), which will endorse the results of the elections also supervised by the National Council. (Prensa Latina)