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Voting for Syrian Constitution means voting against civil war, MP says

February 27, 2012, 23:24 UTC+3

A new constitution in Syria contains a number of key provisions that offer “a real way to democratic reforms”

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MOSCOW, February 27 (Itar-Tass) —— State Duma Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Alexei Pushkov said the constitutional referendum in Syria, in which about 90 percent of people supported a new constitution, offers a way out of the current crisis in that country.

“The adoption of this constitution and the conduct of free parliamentary elections in May will pave the way to a political settlement in Syria, not to humanitarian intervention or civil war which are actively supported by the so-called ‘friends of Syria’,” Pushkov told Itar-Tass on Monday, February 27.

A new constitution in Syria contains a number of key provisions that offer “a real way to democratic reforms”.

“The Ba’ath party, i.e. the party of Arab socialist revival, of which incumbent President Bashar al-Assad is a member, will no longer be the main dominating political force in the country and will compete in free parliamentary elections along with other parties,” Pushkov said.

The draft new Syrian Constitution contains a multiparty principle, abolishes the Ba’ath party’s monopoly rule, bans the creation of parties on ethnic, religious or tribal basis... The state undertakes to respect and protect all religious communities. The term of presidential office for one person is limited to two seven-year periods. Any discrimination by sex, origin, faith or language is forbidden.

According to preliminary information from the Syrian Interior Ministry, 60 percent of Syrian people eligible to vote participated in the referendum. Mass media reports say that the overwhelming majority of them – 89.4 percent – supported the draft. Voting was conducted across the country at 14,500 polling stations.

Puskov visited Syria last week for talks with its leadership and said he was not surprised that so many people supported a new constitution.

“We were thanked for Russia’s position on Syrian settlement which did not let a civil war to start... there are very strong apprehensions and concerns about a fratricidal war there,” the MP said.

Al-Assad supported Pushkov's decision to study the situation on the ground.

The president believes that terrorist groups supported from abroad seek to “destabilise the situation in Syria, ruin the state and upset reforms”.

Pushkov supported reforms in Syria and called for further efforts to “achieve a political settlement of the crisis through dialogue between all parties involved”.

Russia “accepts no external interference in Syria's internal affairs”, Pushkov said, adding that this position is based on Russia's commitment to the principles of international law and the interests of the Syrian people.

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