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Damascus: New party law makes creation of Kurdish parties impossible

KURDWATCH, July 29, 2011—The Syrian government passed a new law regarding the creation of new politicial parties on July 24, 2011. According to Article 5 of the new law, the following conditions must be fulfilled for a new party to be created:
The party must be oriented in accordance with the Syrian Constitution and democratic and constitutional principles, as well as with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and must respect all treaties signed by the Syrian Arab Republic.
It must defend the unity of the nation and strengthen national unity within society. The basic tenets of the party, its goals and its financial recources must be disclosed publicly. A party may not be established on a religious or regional basis. Furthermore, it may not be associated with a tribe, a social class or a profession, or have its establishment be based on discrimination by race, gender or skin color.
The party organs, the leadership and its activities must be oriented according to democratic principles.
In addition, the party may not pursue military or paramilitary goals either publicly or secretly. It may not employ violence in any form, or threaten or call for violence. Lastly, the party may not be an offshoot of a non-Syrian party or an illegal political organization.
The Syrian Ministry of Justice has announced that the application to found a new party must be reviewed by a committee formed for this purpose. In accordance to Article 7 of the party law, this committee is composed of the Foreign Minister, the Vice President of the Court of Cassation, and three independent personages, who are to be named for a term of three years by the President. In accordance with Article 9, the application for the founding of a new party must be signed by fifty founding members. All founding members must have possessed Syrian citizenship for at least ten years, be at least 25 years of age, be residents of Syria, and be in possession of their full civil and political rights. Further, they may neither have been punished for a crime nor be a member of another Syrian or non-Syrian party.
[Furthermore, at its founding a party must have at least 1,000 members, who must be registered with the authorities in at least half of all the provinces of Syria. The percentage of members from a single province may not be less than five percent of the total number of party members. Additionally, all parties must reflect the national structure of Syrian society.

Should no answer be forthcoming within 60 days after the submission of the application for the founding of a new party, the foundation of the party qualifies as approved. Should the application not be granted, the applicants can lodge protest at the appropriate court within fifteen days. The court must reach a decision within 60 days.
The provisions that a party may not be founded on a »regional basis«, that members must come from at least half of all Syrian provinces, and that the party must reflect the »national structure« of Syrian society make the foundation of an explicitly Kurdish-oriented party impossible.

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