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Assad calls referendum on new constitution for Syria

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has announced a February 26 referendum on a new draft constitution that would allow the "people to govern the people" and introduce a multi-party political system, state news media reported Wednesday.


AFP - Syria's President Bashar al-Assad has decreed to hold a referendum for a new constitution on February 26, the official SANA state news agency reported on Wednesday.

"President Bashar al-Assad issued today a decree setting Sunday, February 26, as the date for the referendum on the draft constitution," SANA reported.

Syrian state television said the new constitution would allow the "people to govern the people" under a new multi-party democratic system.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has granted a general amnesty for crimes committed since the outbreak of a 10-month uprising against his rule, the state news agency SANA reported on Sunday.

It said the amnesty would cover "crimes committed in the context of the events that occurred from March 15, 2011, until January 15, 2012". It gave no further details. REUTERS

It said that under the proposed text, freedom is "a sacred right" and that any violation of personal freedom is considered a crime punishable by law.

On Sunday, a commission tasked with drawing up a new constitution submitted a draft charter to Assad, SANA reported, adding he would review it and send it to the People's Assembly before a vote.

In January, Assad said a new constitution was being drawn up by a committee set up in October to replace the current one, which enshrines his Baath party's dominant role.

At the time, he said it could be put to a popular vote as early as March, although that date for the ballot has now been brought forward.

Syria's government lifted a state of emergency in April last year and in July adopted a law allowing a multi-party political system.

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