Syrian Parliament Speaker: Constitution a Question of Absolute Sovereignty

Abbas says that only the Syrian people can approve an amendment to the constitution through a popular referendum, pro-government newspaper reports

In her first interview since she was elected Speaker of Parliament, Hadiyeh al-Abbas said that the writing of the constitution is an act of absolute sovereignty and that the people of Syria are the only ones who must undertake it.

She said, in response to a question about the constitution draft proposed by Russia, that "the role of the parliament in amending the constitution is clearly stated in the Syrian constitution itself.” According to Abbas, the parliament can form a special committee to discuss a proposed amendment if it was put forward by the President or by one third of the members of parliament. “We are a state of institutions. The parliament abides by the constitution and its own bylaws and does not form committees to discuss informal political proposals,” Abbas stated.

Abbas added that even proposals and ideas presented by Syria’s ally, Russia, in efforts to bring closer Syrians’ opposing views are “mere proposals and ideas” to help reach a political solution to the Syrian crisis and are not legally binding. “The discussion (of these ideas) will remain confined to the political realm unless all Syrians agree that amending the constitution is needed to achieve a political solution to the crisis,” Abbas added, stressing that only the Syrian people can make that decision through a popular referendum.

Abbas concluded that forming a new constitution is a question of absolute Syrian sovereignty and must only be undertaken by the Syrians themselves through well-known legal mechanisms and channels. “Only the people of Syria have the right to approve the constitution [as] they see fit through a popular referendum after a committee of Syrian specialists writes its first draft," she said.

This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.

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