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How Bashar al-Assad Uses the People’s Assembly to Consolidate Power, Pass Projects

The functional essence of People's Assembly members under the Assad regime has diverged drastically from constitutional mandates, al-Souria Net argues.
How Bashar al-Assad Uses the People’s Assembly to Consolidate Power, Pass Projects

Since the onset of the Syrian revolution in 2011, the Bashar al-Assad regime has staunchly pushed for the continuation of People’s Assembly elections despite the backdrop of war and instability. This insistence serves the regime’s agenda to portray an image of uninterrupted state institution functionality to the global stage, aligning with its strategic interests. 

Recognizing the necessity to adapt to the evolving socio-political landscape, the regime has implemented changes within parliamentary formations, tailoring them to navigate the current domestic and international complexities.

Notably, the regime has integrated new military militia leaders and warlords into the parliamentary framework, rewarding them for their roles in suppressing dissent and upholding regime interests. Additionally, the regime has strategically included figures from sectarian or religious minorities, shifting away from previously dominant societal affiliations such as businessmen, Baath Party members, and Sunni religious leaders. This recalibration of assembly composition underscores the regime’s astute understanding of the pivotal role of legislative authority in its governance strategy.

Decree to Hold People’s Assembly Elections on July 15th

However, the functional essence of People’s Assembly members under the Assad regime has diverged drastically from constitutional mandates. Rather than serving as a bastion of democratic representation, the Assembly operates to legitimize and empower Assad’s policies both domestically and internationally.

Internally, the Assembly serves as a tool for consolidating regime power by rewarding loyalists with seats, fostering internal competition among supporters for favor. Moreover, the Assembly provides a veneer of legitimacy to regime decisions, ensuring their acceptance within society and on the global stage as mandates of a democratically elected body.

By shifting responsibility for controversial decisions onto the Assembly, the regime absolves itself of accountability, portraying itself merely as the executor of Assembly mandates. Consequently, state institutions, particularly the People’s Assembly, have become instrumentalized in solidifying regime authority, allowing it to legitimize its actions and policies, serving its interests both within Syria and on the international platform.

 

This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.

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