Syria--2011 FDA Global Electoral Fairness Audit Report

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2011 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of the Syria republic electoral system.

FDA auditors gave Syria an overall electoral score of 0%. (50% is the minimum passing grade.)

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Syria--2011 FDA Global Electoral Fairness Audit Report

  1. 1. 2011 FDA Global Electoral Fairness Audit of Syria’s Republic Electoral SystemExecutive Summary: Syria received an overall score of 0 percent for electoral fairness. Thescore means that there is complete electoral unfairness in Syria. Any element of electoralfairness such as the composition of National Assembly based on gender, occupation, new andold members and political affiliation, is offset overall by electoral unfairness. The statecontrols all media, and the Baath Party is guaranteed a majority of the National Assemblyand the presidency of the country. Political expression must conform to the principles andgoals of the 1963 revolution, and the state imposes fines and imprisonment, and revokespolitical and professional rights for violation of political content laws. Electoral Fairness Audit Completed September 9, 2011 Updated on October 3, 2011
  2. 2. About the Foundation for Democratic Advancement:The Foundation for Democratic Advancement ("FDA")s mission is to advance fair andtransparent democratic processes wherever elections occur. The FDA believes that fairerelectoral systems and a more informed public will help ensure the election of candidates whotruly represent the will of the people. The FDA fulfills its mission by performing detailedelectoral audits on political candidates and parties to inform the public, objectively andimpartially, about their electoral choices. Also, the FDA audits electoral legislation in terms offairness and equity, and conducts ground level assessments of democratic processes. (For moreinformation on the FDA visit: www.democracychange.com)Purpose of Electoral Fairness Audit:The purpose of the FDA’s electoral fairness audit (the “Audit”) is to determine a grade andranking for electoral fairness in Syria at the presidential and assembly levels of government. ThisAudit is part of the FDA’s global audit of electoral fairness involving all countries which holdpolitical elections. The FDAs goal is to give the citizens of Syria an informed, objectiveperspective of the fairness of the Syrian republic electoral system.The views in this electoral fairness audit are the views of the FDA only. The FDA’s members andvolunteers are in no way affiliated with the Syrian Electoral Commission or any of the Syrianregistered/non-registered political parties. The Audit is an independent assessment based onobjectivity, transparency and non-partisanship. The FDA assumes no responsibility or liabilityfor any errors in the calculation of its audit results or inaccuracies in its research of relevantSyrian legislation.Methodology of the Electoral Fairness Audit:The FDA uses the methodology of more reasonableness which was created by FDA founder andexecutive director, Stephen Garvey. The methodology focuses on facts themselves for fairnessand unfairness, and their comparative numerical value. To determine the correct numerical valuefor facts, FDA auditors are guided by matrices which show the numerical value of establishedfacts, and FDA scoring scales for fairness and unfairness.The FDA focuses on four key areas of electoral fairness:1) Laws and regulations on the political content of media including newspapers, broadcasters andonline media before, during, and after elections;2) Laws and regulations on the candidates’ and parties’ influence before, during and afterelections, such as national televised debates, restrictions on candidate nominations, partyregistration requirements, etc.;3) Laws and regulations on electoral finance, such as party and campaign donation limits, thirdparty spending limits etc.; and
  3. 3. 4) Laws and regulations on voter say before, during, and after an election. The FDA auditorsdetermine the fairness of Syrian laws and regulations for voter say in the media, at the pollingbooth, through electoral finance and constitutional laws etc.The FDA audits these four areas of electoral fairness because, in our opinion, they are oftenignored or overlooked by the international community in determining electoral fairness.Moreover, these four areas cover broad aspects of the electoral process in which fairness couldbe compromised significantly. The FDA acknowledges that electoral laws and regulations maynot necessarily correspond to the implementation of those laws and regulations or the public’sresponse to them. The implementation and response could be positive or negative, in terms ofelectoral fairness. Nevertheless, laws and regulations provide the foundation for democracy,framework for the electoral system, and an indication of electoral fairness. Also, a countrysconstitutional and electoral laws are part of the reality of its democracy. A further study whichtracks the actions of mainstream media and the enforcement or non-enforcement of electorallaws and regulation, for example, would provide a more reliable overall determination ofelectoral fairness.The FDA researched current Syrian legislation, in relation to the four areas of electoral fairnessbeing audited. Following which, the FDA audited the research results via the FDA electoral auditteam and established FDA matrices and scoring scales. The scores and the reasons for them arerecorded.Weighting and Scoring:Overall, the FDA scoring is guided by an inherent valuation of the concepts of soundness andrelevancy. Each area of electoral fairness has a score range between 0 and 10, and each area iscounted equally. The FDA auditors allow for overlap of electoral fairness areas, due to theinterconnectedness of the areas. For example, electoral finance will be factored into the score forvoter say and candidate and party influence if it is relevant to these areas. The total averagedscore will provide an indication of the electoral fairness in Syria.The FDA electoral audit team deliberated on the research on each area of electoral fairness, andthen attempted to reach consensus on the scores. When no consensus could be reached, theindividual scores of the team were averaged. The final score for each area must be supported bymore sound reasons and correspond to the established FDA matrices and scoring scale.FDA Researcher:Mr. Stephen Garvey, FDA founder and executive director, bachelors degree in Political Science(University of British Columbia), and masters degree in Environment and Development(University of Cambridge).
  4. 4. FDA Electoral Fairness Audit Team:Chief Electoral Auditor:Mr. Stephen Garvey, FDA founder and executive director, bachelors degree in Political Science(University of British Columbia), and masters degree in Environment and Development(University of Cambridge).Electoral Auditors:Mrs. Linda Dassin, FDA researcher, bachelor of Law (Université Paul Cézanne), lawyer, andLebanese citizen.Mr. Aurangzeb Qureshi, FDA Director of Marketing, bachelor degree in Political Science(University of Alberta), and bachelor degree in Journalism (University of Kings College).Mrs. Liza Valentine, FDA design consultant and researcher, and masters degree in Architecture(University of Calgary).Ms. Larisa Vortman, FDA researcher, teaching diploma (University of Foreign Languages inIrkutsk, Russia FDA), specialization French and English, and Russian citizen.© 2011, Foundation for Democratic AdvancementAll rights reserved.Foundation for Democratic Advancement728 Northmount Drive NW,PO Box 94, Calgary, Alberta,Canada, T2K 1P0info@democracychange.com
  5. 5. Table of Contents:Political Background on Syria 7Chapter 1: Political Content of Media 9Executive Summary 9Research Excepts 9Score 11Rational 11Chapter 2 Equality of Political Candidate and Party Influence 13Executive Summary 13Research Excerpts 13Score 20Rational 20Chapter 3: Equality of Electoral Finance 21Executive Summary 21Research Excerpts 21Score 22Rational 22Chapter 4: Equality of Voter Say 23Executive Summary 23Research Excepts 23Score 25Rational 25Chapter 5: Overall Audit Results 26
  6. 6. Chapter 6: Analysis 27Chapter 7: Conclusion 28Chapter 8: Recommendations 29Appendix: FDA Global Audit Results 30
  7. 7. Political background on Syria • Syria gained independence from the French administered League of Nations mandate on April 17, 1946. A republican government that had formed during the mandate assumed control. • Syrian politics from independence through the late 1960s were marked by political upheavals. During this period Syria had four different constitutions and witnessed several military coups. It also briefly joined Egypt to form the United Arab Republic between 1958 and 1961. • Syria stabilized under President Hafez al-Asad, who came to power through a bloodless military coup on November 13, 1970 and consolidated the dominance of the Baath party. Hafez al-Asad also helped concentrate power in the hands of the Alawite sect, a minority Muslim sect that constitutes approximately 11 percent of Syria’s population. Hafez al- Asad served five presidential terms and, after his death in 2000, his son Bashar became president.Principles and Goals of the 1963 Syrian Revolution:Syria – ConstitutionPreambleThe Arab nation managed to perform a great role in building human civilization when it was aunified nation. When the ties of its national cohesion weakened, its civilizing role receded andthe waves of colonial conquest shattered the Arab nations unity, occupied its territory, andplundered its resources. Our Arab nation has withstood these challenges and rejected the realityof division, exploitation, and backwardness out of its faith in its ability to surmount this realityand return to the arena of history in order to play, together with the other liberated nations, itsdistinctive role in the construction of civilization and progress. With the close of the first half ofthis century, the Arab peoples struggle has been expanding and assuming greater importance invarious countries to achieve liberation from direct colonialism.The Arab masses did not regard independence as their goal and the end of their sacrifices, but asa means to consolidate their struggle, and as an advanced phase in their continuing battle againstthe forces of imperialism, Zionism, and exploitation under the leadership of their patriotic andprogressive forces in order to achieve the Arab nations goals of unity, freedom, and socialism.In the Syrian Arab region, the masses of our people continued their struggle after independence.Through their progressive march they were able to achieve their big victory by setting off therevolution of 8 March 1963 under the leadership of the Socialist Arab Baath Party, which hasmade authority an instrument to serve the struggle for the construction of the United SocialistArab society.The Socialist Arab Baath Party is the first movement in the Arab homeland which gives Arabunity its sound revolutionary meaning, connects the nationalist with the socialist struggle, and Foundation for Democratic Advancement |2011 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Syria Page 7
  8. 8. represents the Arab nations will and aspirations for a future that will bind the Arab nation withits glorious past and will enable it to carry out its role in achieving victory for the cause offreedom of all the peoples.Through the partys militant struggle, the 16 Nov 1970 corrective movement responded to ourpeoples demands and aspirations. This corrective movement was an important qualitativedevelopment and a faithful reflection of the partys spirit, principles, and objectives. It created theappropriate atmosphere for the fulfillment of a number of significant projects in the interest ofour large masses, primarily the emergence of the state of the Confederation of Arab Republics inresponse to the call for unity, which figures prominently in the Arab conscience, which wasbuttressed by the joint Arab struggle against imperialism and Zionism, regionalist disputes, andseparatist movements, and which was confirmed by the contemporary Arab revolution againstdomination and exploitation.Under the aegis of the corrective movement, an important stop was taken on the road leading tothe consolidation of national unity for our popular masses. Under the leadership of the socialistArab Baath Party, a national and progressive front with developed conceptions emerged in such amanner as to meet our peoples needs and interests and proceed toward unifying the instrumentof the Arab revolution in a unified political organization.The completion of this Constitution crowns our peoples struggle on the road of the principle ofpopular democracy, is a clear guide for the peoples march toward the future and a regulator ofthe movement of the state and its various institutions, and is a source of its legislation. Foundation for Democratic Advancement |2011 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Syria Page 8
  9. 9. Chapter One: Political Content of MediaChapter one will focus on the research and audit results of Syrian laws and regulations withrespect to the political content of media, including newspapers, broadcasters and on-line media,before, during and after elections.Executive Summary:Syria received a failing score of 0 percent for equality of political content. The score means thatthe Syria is completely unfair in terms of the political content of media and broadcasters. TheSyrian state controls political content, and political content must conform to the principles andgoals of the 1963 Syrian revolution. The state imposes fines and imprisonment, and revokesmedia licenses for violation of political content laws, and censors political content.Research Excerpts:The following excerpts were identified by the FDA researchers as relevant. The FDA researchersmade some excerpts bold to emphasize high relevance: - The 2001 Publications Law stipulates imprisonment and financial penalties as punishment for the publication of “inaccurate” information, particularly if it “causes public unrest, disrupts international relations, violates the dignity of the state of national unity, affects the morale of the armed force, or inflicts harm on the national economy and the safety of the monetary system.” Prison terms range from 1 to 3 years and fines from 500,000 to 1 million Syrian pounds (US$10,000-20,000). The law also allows the government to deny or revoke publishing licenses for reasons “related to the public interest” (which is not clearly defined). It also requires that owners and editors-in-chief of publications be Arab. - The state does not permit “attacking the prestige of the state, publishing false information, membership in a secret organization aimed at destabilizing the state and fueling ethnic and racial tension.” Under articles 285, 286, 306, and 307 of the criminal code, they face prison sentences of up to fifteen years. - Amendments to the Publications Law impose strict punishments on reporters who do not reveal their government sources in response to government requests. - Vaguely worded articles of the Penal Code and Emergency Law give the government large discretion in punishing those who express views or publish information that “opposes the goals of the revolution” or tarnishes the image of the state. - Anyone wishing to establish an independent paper or periodical must apply for a license from the ministry of information. - An amendment to the 2001 publications law issued in September permits the establishment of privately owned radio stations. Foundation for Democratic Advancement |2011 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Syria Page 9
  10. 10. - The Ministry of Information and the Ministry of Culture and National Guidance censor domestic and imported foreign press. Censorship is usually stricter for material in Arabic. - Internet censorship in Syria is growing, with over one hundred websites blocked, according to a Reporters without Borders statement on December 7, 2007. Banned websites include YouTube, Amazon, Facebook, the Arabic electronic daily Elaph, and various websites run by human rights groups and political organizations.The state media now have greater freedom to address previously taboo subjects-religion, gender,and the governing regime-although in circumspect terms and with limited criticism. The Syriangovernment runs all Syrian television and radio stations and most newspaper publishing houses,yet independent newspapers were permitted in 2001. Currently three weekly newspapers areprinted by private organizations.Martial Order No. 3, such as Article 4A, continued to be used to justify the state’s controlover all newspapers, books, radio and television broadcasting, advertising, and visual artsand to give the regime in power the right to confiscate and destroy work that it deemsthreatening to the security of the stateLegislationAll broadcasting (radio and TV) generated within Syria is owned and operated bythe Syrian government. All broadcasting is, therefore, highly regulated and programmershave no more freedom to publish dissenting or alternative points of view than do thegovernment run newspapers.Decree 50 (2001)Article 12(a) allows him to “refuse to grant a license for reasons he deems to be related topublic interest.” And, since Decree 50 does not define the term “public interest” he hasfull discretion to grant or deny any application for a license.Article 12 (b) requires that any publication seeking a license “must observe all(the Prime Minister’s) instructions related to the preparation, specifications, editors,correspondents and news agencies….”Article 18 requires that the directors of publications must have university degreesor to have practiced as journalists for over six years and Article 19 requires that chiefeditors must have university degrees, practiced journalism for ten years, or served aschief editors as of September 22, 2001. Article 20 requires that a publication obtainapproval from the Ministry of Information if it wishes to change the owner, director, orchief editor.Articles 27 and 28 require that all print and broadcast journalists, including researchers andtranslators working in the media, must be members of the Ba’ath Party controlled JournalistsUnion in order to obtain the required Ministry of Information press Foundation for Democratic Advancement |2011 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Syria Page 10
  11. 11. cards. Article 28c permits the government to ask a journalist about the source of hisinformation that is “attributed by him to some responsible source…(and the Ministry ofInformation) may withdraw a journalists card in the event of his refusal to disclose thatsource.” No Article defines the term “responsible source.”Decree 50 and the banned or restricted contentArticle 44d prohibits anyone who is not licensed as political publication frompublishing any “political” article whatsoever. For those publishers who are allowed topublish articles with “political” content, Article 29 provides a list of topics that arebanned from publication. These include:a) Articles and reports about national security, national unity, details of thesecurity and safety of the army, its movements, weapons, supplies, equipment andcamps, with the exception of information issued by the Ministry of Defense andapproved for publicationb) Information about the investigation and charges in misdemeanor and criminalcases “prior to their being delivered by the court in an open session.”c) Details of cases of libel, defamation, slander, or calumny.d) Details of secret trials and hearings of cases dealing with divorce, separation,hereditary disputes and those banned by courts, and reports made by forensicdoctors in crimes of immorality.e) Confidential reports of the National Assemblyf) Books, correspondence, articles, reports, pictures and news affecting the rightto privacy 1951 media law prohibits any kind of private broadcasting by radio or by television.The Directorate-General of Radio and Television is responsible for the oversight and productionof radio broadcasting.Beginning in 1960 the Directorate-General of Radio and Television added "television" to its titleand became responsible for all aspects of broadcasting.Electoral Fairness Audit Results for Media and Broadcasters:Score:The FDA electoral fairness audit team reached consensus on a score of 0/10Rational for Score:The political content of all media and broadcasters is controlled by the state, and the media andbroadcasters must conform to state ideology.The state enforces control of the media and broadcasters through fines ranging from $10,000-$20,000 USD and imprisonment up to 15 years.The state controls the licensing of media and broadcast networks and journalists. Foundation for Democratic Advancement |2011 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Syria Page 11
  12. 12. The state forbids private broadcasting by radio and television.The state censors the internet for content that is contrary to the principles and goals of the 1963revolution.The score of 0 percent is based on there being no element of fairness and equity in the politicalcontent of the media and broadcasters. When the political content must mirror state ideology,severe fines and imprisonment are imposed on individuals, the media, and broadcasters for notconforming to state ideology, and political content is censored, there is no element of equality inthe media. Foundation for Democratic Advancement |2011 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Syria Page 12
  13. 13. Chapter Two: Candidates’ and Parties’ InfluenceChapter two will focus on the research and audit results of Syrian laws and regulations withrespect to the fairness of candidates and parties’ influence before, during and after elections.Executive Summary:Syria received a score of 0 percent for equality of candidate and party influence. The scoremeans that there is complete unfairness in terms of candidate and party influence. Through theSyrian Constitution, the Baath Party is guaranteed a majority of the National Assembly and thepresidency of the country. Moreover, political candidates and parties must conform to the statesideology and the principles and goals of the 1963 revolution. Also, the state controls politicalcontent and imposes fines and imprisonment, and revokes political rights for violation ofpolitical content laws.Research Excerpts:The following excerpts were identified by the FDA researchers as relevant. The FDA researchersmade some excerpts bold to emphasize high relevance:The draft law requires that new parties be “allied to, created by, or friends of the Baath” and thatparty founders be over 35 years old, have no criminal record, and be proven supporters of theBaathist March 8 Revolution. Political parties cannot be based on religious, sectarian, or tribalidentities and cannot have operated before 1963 (only the Baath Party, the Syrian SocialNationalist Party, and the Communist Party are exempted from the last restriction). According tothe draft law, the decision to grant a new party a license will be made by a committee thatincludes the head of the Shura Council, the ministers of justice and interior, the minister of statefor peoples assembly affairs, and three independent judges. (Source: “Syria: UpcomingElections” (Feb 1, 2007) Arab Reform Bulletin, Carnegieendowment.org) - President: Serves a seven-year term. The presidential candidate is first nominated by the People’s Assembly and then runs unopposed in a popular referendum rather than in competitive elections. If the majority of voters fail to approve the candidate, the nomination process is repeated in the People’s Assembly and a new referendum is held. - Is elected by popular vote from 15 multi-seat constituencies to serve four-year terms. 167 of the 250 seats are guaranteed for members of the National Patriotic Front and 50 percent of the members must represent workers and peasants. • The State of Emergency in force since 1963 severely restricts personal liberties. The Emergency Law (Decree No. 5 of March 9, 1963) authorizes the prosecution of anyone “opposing the goals of the revolution,” “shaking the confidence of the masses in the aims of the revolution,” or attempting to “change the economic or social structure of the state.” The government justifies the emergency law by alluding to the state of war with Israel and past threats from terrorist groups. Foundation for Democratic Advancement |2011 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Syria Page 13
  14. 14. • The 1963 Emergency Law authorizes the government to conduct preventive arrests and overrides Constitutional and Penal Code provisions against arbitrary arrest and detention, including the need to obtain warrants. The security services have virtually unlimited authority to arrest suspects and hold them incommunicado for prolonged periods without charge. • The Kurdish minority faces political restrictions. Two hundred thousand Syrian Kurds are deprived of citizenship and are unable to obtain passports, identity cards, or birth certificates. This prevents them from owning land, obtaining government employment, and voting. The governments discrimination against the Kurdish minority resulted in a series of riots in March 2004. During the riots, which started in the Hassakeh province and then spread to other parts of the country, more than 40 persons were reportedly killed by security forces and more than 1000 arrested. - Article 8 of the constitution declares the Baath party the ruling party of the state and society. - Political parties are required to support the principles of the revolution: socialism and Arab nationalism. - All officially registered political parties must be members of the National Progressive Front, which is currently made up of ten member parties. - The 1973 Electoral Law (Arabic Text) states that at least half the People’s Assembly members must be workers or peasants. Candidates must run as independents or as members of a party affiliated with the National Progressive Front. - In February 2001, the ministry of social affairs announced that political forums and discussion groups that had formed in the preceding months in the more open atmosphere of the “Damascus Spring” (a period of political opening which started after the death of President Hafez al-Asad in June 2000) could not meet without its permission, which would only be granted if specific information on the meeting’s location and attendants was provided. - - The government requires permits for all meetings by religious groups, except for worship. It also monitors their fund raising activities.The state does not permit “attacking the prestige of the state, publishing false information,membership in a secret organization aimed at destabilizing the state and fueling ethnic and racialtension.” Under articles 285, 286, 306, and 307 of the criminal code, they face prison sentencesof up to fifteen years.The government bans access to Kurdish websites, foreign-based websites of unlicensedopposition parties, and news websites critical of the government. The government has increasedprosecutions against journalists using the Internet. • In 1972, the National Progressive Front (NPF) (al-Jabha al-Wataniya al-Taqadumiya) was established as the umbrella for legal political parties. It encompasses the Baath Party and eight (increased from the original six) allied parties, giving the appearance of a multi- Foundation for Democratic Advancement |2011 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Syria Page 14
  15. 15. party system. The Baath Party dominates the NPF. Non-Baath parties included in the NPF represent small political groupings of a few hundred members each and conform strictly to Baath Party and government policies. Chaired by the president of the republic, the NPF approves the states’ five-year plans, discusses economic policy, and determines the government’s general policy orientation. The Front is guaranteed 167 seats in the People’s Assembly. It includes: - Following the June 2005 Baath party congress, the Syrian Social National Party (al-Hizb al-Qawmi al-Ishtiraki al-Suri), banned since 1955, was licensed without being required to join the NPF. It is led by Jubran Urayji. Results of presidential referendum on May 27, 2007: - According to results released by the Interior Ministry, Bashar al-Asad obtained 97.6% of the vote in the referendum and over 95% of eligible voters turned out to the polling booths. Bashar al-Asad obtained 97.29% of the vote in the July 10, 2000 referendum. Results of elections for the People’s Assembly on April 22-23, 2007: - Nationalist Progressive Front (NPF) candidates won the majority of seats in parliamentary elections on, an expected result as two-thirds of the 250 seats are automatically allocated to the NPF. The Baath party won 134 seats and other NPF members won 36 seats. - Independent candidates, who have been allowed to run for parliament since 1990, competed for the remaining 80 seats. - Syrian opposition groups boycotted the elections, saying that the few changes to the electoral process fell far short of their longstanding demands. Led by the Syrian Democratic Coalition (SDC) and the Damascus Declaration bloc—an alliance of sixteen political parties—the opposition says it has a national project for democratic and peaceful change, including a new electoral law and the establishment of political parties. The most recent Constitutional amendment was adopted in 2000, when Article 83 was modified to decrease the minimum age required to become president from 40 to 34, thus allowing Bashar al-Asad to become president after his father’s death.The Private Associations and Institutions Act No. 93 of 1958 regulates the act of association.Any meeting, with the exception of religious services, must be registered with the ministry ofinterior in advance. Permission is often denied and that denial is justified in the Institutions Actby a prohibition against any meeting for which the purpose is "to prejudice the integrity or formof the republican government."Article 24 gave the right to the administrative units to determine special places for hanging theposters, statements and election bulleting. Posters are not allowed to be hung on the walls of thepublic or private buildings and outside the places designated for them. It is also prohibited to Foundation for Democratic Advancement |2011 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Syria Page 15
  16. 16. write the names of the candidates or any other election campaigns on these walls.Election meetings will be allowed to be held during the period of the election publicity inaccordance with the laws and regulations in force and the instructions that are issued by theMinister of Interior.As for those who violate the provisions of Paragraph B of Article 24, the law imposes on thecontravener a financial fine amounting to a dozen times the value of the excess spending on thepublicity and the value of this fine shall go to the general budget of the State,Article 24 of the General Election Law:The candidate should stop his election campaign 48 hours before the time due for the polling.The candidate shall have the right to release bulletins announcing his nomination and indicatinghis plans and goals and everything that is related to his platform after he receives the finalnotification that includes the approval of his nomination, provided that this platform is signed byhim and that he should submit three copies of the bulletins and statements to the governor.The candidate should fix the ceiling of financial spending on the election publicity at 3 millionSyrian Liras.The candidate should appoint a financial officer within three days from receiving the finalnotification of the acceptance of his candidacy. The financial officer shall be vested with thepower of financial spending on the publicity. The central committee of the constituency shall benotified with the name of this financial officer.The financial officer should not serve in this capacity for more than one candidate. At the end ofhis assignment, he should submit a statement of account and a report on his work to the centralcommittee of the electoral constituency. He should give a copy of the statement of account andthe report to the candidate. The committee shall undertake the work of auditing the financialstatement and the report submitted. If the committee finds out that a winning candidate hasviolated the provisions of Paragraph B of Article 24 pertaining to the ceiling of financialspending, it ay submit an appeal contesting his nomination to the president of the supremeconstitutional court which may apply the provisions of the Third Chapter of Law no. 19 of 1973.Articles 27 and 28 require that all print and broadcast journalists, includingresearchers and translators working in the media, must be members of the Ba’ath Partycontrolled Journalists Union in order to obtain the required Ministry of Information presscards. Article 28c permits the government to ask a journalist about the source of hisinformation that is “attributed by him to some responsible source…(and the Ministry ofInformation) may withdraw a journalists card in the event of his refusal to disclose thatsource.” No Article defines the term “responsible source.” Foundation for Democratic Advancement |2011 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Syria Page 16
  17. 17. Syrian Constitution:Article 4 - deprived of the right to vote:A - who are in custody for stone B - mentally ill for their illness. C - the arbitrators in accordance with articles 63 and 65 and 66 of the Penal Code or an offenseoutrageous.Chapter VI - election campaignsArticle 24A - of the candidate after the receipt of the final link to broadcast bulletins to declare hiscandidacy and the statement of his plan and goals and everything related to its work program, tobe signed by him, and to submit three copies of these releases and statements to the Governor. T - stop campaigning before the forty-eight hours from the date set for election C - determine the Damascus governorate and municipal special places to paste images, data andelectoral leaflets and prevent the paste on the walls of public buildings and private, and also toprevent writing the names of any candidates or electoral propaganda on the walls under thesanctions stipulated in this Legislative Decree.Article 25 - allowed during the election campaign to hold election meetings in accordance withapplicable laws and regulations and instructions issued by the Minister.Article 51 - shall be punished by imprisonment from ten days to a month of each of the pastesdata, photographs and pamphlets on the election outside the places allocated to them. And thepenalty is doubled if the adhesive on the walls of public buildings and memorials andmonuments and cemeteries and buildings intended for worship.And the punishment shall be imprisonment from two months to one year if the declaration bywriting on the walls. Number of Members: 250 Member Category of workers and 127 peasants 123 Other categories of people Women: 32 Member Category of workers and 21 peasants 11 Other categories of people Number of new 170 Member of members: Number of members 80 Member of from previous roles: Foundation for Democratic Advancement |2011 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Syria Page 17
  18. 18. The number of members by occupation: 40 A member of Jurists 19 A member of the doctors 36 A member of Engineers 4 Members of the traders 4 Members of the industrial The number of members by age: Member between 30-40 29 years Member between 40-50 83 years Member between 50-60 81 years Member between 60-70 46 years A member of 70 years and 11 above Number of members by political affiliation: A member of the Baath 134 Arab Socialist Party 36 Members of other parties A member of the 80 independent[134 Assembly seats guaranteed for the Baath Arab Socialist Party; governments determinesdistribution of Assembly in terms of age, gender, and occupation.]Article XPeoples councils democratically elected institutions through which citizens exercise their rightsin the State administration and the leadership of the community.Article Eighty-fourth1 - issue nomination for the Presidency of the Peoples Assembly on the proposal of the nationalleadership of the Baath Arab Socialist Party and displays the nomination to the citizens for theirreferendum in it.2 - the referendum takes place at the invitation of the President of the Peoples Assembly.3 - new president is elected before the expiry of the mandate of the incumbent president in aperiod of not less than one month and not more than six months .(**)4 - the candidate becomes President of the Republic of winning an absolute majority of the totalvotes of the voters did not receive a majority of the Council nominated and the other track on thenomination and election of the same procedures to be done within one month from the date of Foundation for Democratic Advancement |2011 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Syria Page 18
  19. 19. announcing the results of the first referendum. _________________ * Modified by the Law No. 9 Date 06/11/2000. ** Modified by Law No. 18 of 07.03.1991.Martial Order No. 3, such as Article 4A, continued to be used to justify the state’s controlover all newspapers, books, radio and television broadcasting, advertising, and visual artsand to give the regime in power the right to confiscate and destroy work that it deemsthreatening to the security of the stateLegislationAll broadcasting (radio and TV) generated within Syria is owned and operated bythe Syrian government. All broadcasting is, therefore, highly regulated and programmershave no more freedom to publish dissenting or alternative points of view than do thegovernment run newspapers.Decree 50 (2001)Article 12(a) allows him to “refuse to grant a license for reasons he deems to be related topublic interest.” And, since Decree 50 does not define the term “public interest” he hasfull discretion to grant or deny any application for a license.Article 12 (b) requires that any publication seeking a license “must observe all(the Prime Minister’s) instructions related to the preparation, specifications, editors,correspondents and news agencies….”Article 18 requires that the directors of publications must have university degreesor to have practiced as journalists for over six years and Article 19 requires that chiefeditors must have university degrees, practiced journalism for ten years, or served aschief editors as of September 22, 2001. Article 20 requires that a publication obtainapproval from the Ministry of Information if it wishes to change the owner, director, orchief editor.3) Decree 50 and the banned or restricted contentArticle 44d prohibits anyone who is not licensed as political publication from publishing any“political” article whatsoever. For those publishers who are allowed to publish articles with“political” content, Article 29 provides a list of topics that are banned from publication. Theseinclude:a) Articles and reports about national security, national unity, details of thesecurity and safety of the army, its movements, weapons, supplies, equipment andcamps, with the exception of information issued by the Ministry of Defense andapproved for publicationb) Information about the investigation and charges in misdemeanor and criminalcases “prior to their being delivered by the court in an open session.”c) Details of cases of libel, defamation, slander, or calumny.d) Details of secret trials and hearings of cases dealing with divorce, separation,hereditary disputes and those banned by courts, and reports made by forensic Foundation for Democratic Advancement |2011 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Syria Page 19
  20. 20. doctors in crimes of immorality.e) Confidential reports of the National Assemblyf) Books, correspondence, articles, reports, pictures and news affecting the rightto privacyElectoral Fairness Audit Results for Equality of Candidates and Parties:Score:The FDA electoral fairness audit team reached consensus on a score of 0/10.Rational for Score:Though the Syrian National Assembly is based on a diversity of political representatives, theAssembly is dominated by the Baath Arab Socialist Party.The Baath Arab Socialist Party is guaranteed the majority of the National Assembly and thepresidency of the country.The state controls political expression and association. Political candidates and parties mustconform to the principles and goals of the 1963 revolution. Severe fines and imprisonment up to15 years are imposed anyone who acts against the principles and goals of the 1963 revolution.The Kurdish minority is denied political expression, association, and representation.The state controls the media and broadcast networks. Political content must conform to theprinciples and goals of the 1963 revolution.The score of 0 percent is based on there being no element of fairness in the Syrian electoralprocess. When a party is guaranteed a majority of the Assembly and the presidency of thecountry, any electoral fairness is canceled out. Foundation for Democratic Advancement |2011 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Syria Page 20
  21. 21. Chapter Three: Electoral FinanceChapter three will focus on the research and audit results of Syrian laws and regulations withrespect to the fairness of Syrian laws and regulations with respect to electoral finance.Executive Summary:Syria received a failing score of 0 percent for equality of electoral finance laws. The score meansthat there is complete unfairness in terms of Syrias electoral finance laws. Though as of 2007,there are spending limits on electoral propaganda, the spending limits are canceled out by thestate control of politics including political content, in which the Baath Party is guaranteed amajority of the National Assembly and the presidency of the country. Campaign spending limitsare inconsequential when there are completely unfair elections.Research Excerpts:The following excerpts were identified by the FDA researchers as relevant. The FDA researchersmade some excerpts bold to emphasize high relevance:Amendment to the 1973 electoral law that includes strict regulations on campaign financing:The new law prohibits candidates from providing “services and financial assistance” prior toelections, limits campaign spending to 3 million Syrian pounds (US$57,466), and obligatescandidates to use an accountant to supervise expenditures during the election campaigns.(Source: “Syria: Upcoming Elections” (Feb 1, 2007) Arab Reform Bulletin,Carnegieendowment.org)A Damascus court charged ten members of the Damascus Declaration for Democratic NationalChange opposition coalition on January 28, 2008 with “attacking the prestige of the state,publishing false information, membership in a secret organization aimed at destabilizing the stateand fuelling ethnic and racial tension.” Under articles 285, 286, 306, and 307 of the criminalcode, they face prison sentences of up to fifteen years. - A January 2007 presidential degree (Arabic text) introduced several procedural changes to the election process. It stipulates that transparent ballot boxes be used in elections and caps campaign spending at three million Syrian Lira (US $60,000) per candidate. Foundation for Democratic Advancement |2011 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Syria Page 21
  22. 22. Electoral Fairness Audit Results for Syrian Election Finance:Score:The FDA electoral fairness audit team reached consensus on a score of 0/10.Rational for Score:Though there are electoral spending limits, these limits are canceled out by the Baath Party’sguaranteed majority of the National Assembly and presidency of the country. Also, the staterestricts how electoral campaign monies can be spent on.The score of 0 percent is based on there being no element of fairness in the Syrian electoralprocess. When a party is guaranteed a majority of the Assembly and the presidency, any electoralfairness is canceled out. Foundation for Democratic Advancement |2011 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Syria Page 22
  23. 23. Chapter Four: Voter SayChapter four will focus on the research and audit results of Syrian laws and regulations withrespect to the fairness of voter say laws and regulations before, during and after an election.Executive Summary:Syria received a failing score of 0 percent for equality of voter say. The score means that there iscomplete inequality in voter say. The state controls all forms of media and censors the internet,and political expression must conform to the principles and goals of the 1963 revolution. Also,the Baath Party has a guaranteed majority of the National Assembly and the presidency of thecountry. Syrian voters who are opposed to the Baath Party are restricted severely in their say.Research Excerpts:The following excerpts were identified by the FDA researchers as relevant. The FDA researchersmade some excerpts bold to emphasize high relevance: • The constitution stipulates that citizens are equal before the law, and various articles of the penal code prescribe penalties for discrimination. • The constitution guarantees freedom of speech and expression; the right to “participate in supervision and constructive criticism in a manner that safeguards the soundness of the domestic and nationalist structure and strengthens the socialist system.” • The constitution guarantees the right of citizens to meet and demonstrate peacefully in accordance with the law. In practice, only the government, the Baath Party, or groups linked to them are allowed to organize demonstrations. • The constitution guarantees the freedom to practice any religion, provided this does not disturb the public order. There is no official state religion, but the constitution requires that the president of the republic be a Muslim. • The State of Emergency in force since 1963 severely restricts personal liberties. The Emergency Law (Decree No. 5 of March 9, 1963) authorizes the prosecution of anyone “opposing the goals of the revolution,” “shaking the confidence of the masses in the aims of the revolution,” or attempting to “change the economic or social structure of the state.” The government justifies the emergency law by alluding to the state of war with Israel and past threats from terrorist groups. • The 1963 Emergency Law authorizes the government to conduct preventive arrests and overrides Constitutional and Penal Code provisions against arbitrary arrest and detention, including the need to obtain warrants. The security services have virtually unlimited authority to arrest suspects and hold them incommunicado for prolonged periods without charge. Foundation for Democratic Advancement |2011 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Syria Page 23
  24. 24. • The Kurdish minority faces political restrictions. Two hundred thousand Syrian Kurds are deprived of citizenship and are unable to obtain passports, identity cards, or birth certificates. This prevents them from owning land, obtaining government employment, and voting. The governments discrimination against the Kurdish minority resulted in a series of riots in March 2004. During the riots, which started in the Hassakeh province and then spread to other parts of the country, more than 40 persons were reportedly killed by security forces and more than 1000 arrested. •The government bans access to Kurdish websites, foreign-based websites of unlicensedopposition parties, and news websites critical of the government. The government has increasedprosecutions against journalists using the Internet. - Internet censorship in Syria is growing, with over one hundred websites blocked, according to a Reporters without Borders statement on December 7, 2007. Banned websites include YouTube, Amazon, Facebook, the Arabic electronic daily Elaph, and various websites run by human rights groups and political organizations.The Private Associations and Institutions Act No. 93 of 1958 regulates the act of association.Any meeting, with the exception of religious services, must be registered with the ministry ofinterior in advance. Permission is often denied and that denial is justified in the Institutions Actby a prohibition against any meeting for which the purpose is "to prejudice the integrity or formof the republican government."Part IV: General and Transitional ProvisionsIntroduction:“and the countrys freedom is not safeguarded only free citizens would not be complete freedomof the citizen”“achieve the objectives of the Arab nation in unity, freedom and socialism.” Article 7Article XXV1 - Freedom is a sacred right and the State shall guarantee the personal freedom of citizens andmaintain their dignity and security.2 - the rule of law is a fundamental principle in society and the state.3 - All citizens are equal before the law in rights and duties.4 - The State shall guarantee the principle of equal opportunities among citizens.Article Twenty-sixth Every citizen has the right to participate in the political, economic, social, cultural and regulatedby law.[Law trumps individual freedoms]Article Twenty-eighth1 - every defendant is presumed innocent until convicted by a final judicial decision.2 - may not investigate one or detained except in accordance with the law.3 - No one may be tortured physically or mentally or degrading treatment and punishment of thelaw determines to do so. Foundation for Democratic Advancement |2011 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Syria Page 24
  25. 25. 4 - the right to conduct litigation and remedies, and defense before the judiciary is safeguardedby law.Internet laws:One of the main network services management top-level domain name of the Syrian on theInternet, and the granting of licenses to interested parties in the registration of names under thisdomain.The government is the only Internet Service Provider (ISP) in the country servicing 20,000 usersas of 2000. There is estimated to be several thousand other Internet users connecting via ISPs inJordan and Lebanon in order to avoid Syrian censorship regulations. Sites about Israel, sexualmatters, human rights abuses in Syria, free e-mail sites, and some newspapers are routinelyblocked by the government. New law calls for mandatory licensing for websites, with no right toappeal against refusals, and strict advertising rules. Punishments could include three-year prisonsentences and prohibitively heavy fines – up to US$20,000 (Dh73,456).Electoral Fairness Audit Results for Equality of Voter Say:Score:The FDA electoral fairness audit team reached consensus on a score of 0/10.Rational for Score:The state restricts freedom of expression and association by prosecuting anyone who actscontrary to the principles and goals of the 1963 revolution.The Baath Party is guaranteed a majority of the National Assembly and the presidency of thecountry.Political content of anyone in Syria must conform to the state’s ideology.The state censors political content on the internet which is counter to the states ideology.The state restricts the Kurdish minority’s freedom of expression, association, and politicalrepresentation.The state imposes severe fines and lengthy imprisonment for citizens and organizations actingcontrary to the principles and goals of the 1963 revolution.Voters who conform to state ideology have significantly more say than voters who do not.The score of 0 percent is based on there being no element of equality of voter say. Syrian votersay is completely biased to voters who conform to state ideology. Foundation for Democratic Advancement |2011 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Syria Page 25
  26. 26. Chapter Five: Audit ResultsChapter five will set out the FDA’s scores for each of the areas of the Syrian electoral system asset out above.1. Research and audit results for Syrian laws and regulations on the political content of mediaincluding newspapers, broadcasters, online media, before, during, and after elections.0/102. Research and audit results for Syrian Laws and regulations on the equality of candidates andparties influence before, during and after elections.0/103. Research and audit results for Syrian laws and regulations on electoral finance.0/104. Research and audit results for laws and regulations on the equality of voter say before, during,and after an election.0/10Total score: 0/400 percent Foundation for Democratic Advancement |2011 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Syria Page 26
  27. 27. Chapter Six: AnalysisChapter six will provide a brief analysis of the FDA’s findings.The Syrian overall electoral fairness score of 0 percent means that there is complete electoralunfairness in Syria, and any elements of electoral fairness are trumped by overall electoralunfairness.The FDAs total 0 percent score for Syria is the same as the FDAs total score for Egypt (underMubarak).Syria’s electoral and constitutional laws and regulations, which are the foundation fordemocracy, are completely undemocratic. Foundation for Democratic Advancement |2011 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Syria Page 27
  28. 28. Chapter Seven: ConclusionChapter seven will provide a summary of the FDA’s findings.With an overall score of 0 percent, Syria needs significant improvement in all facets of electoralfairness.Syria is devoid of a foundation for democracy based on the concepts of political equality,electoral fairness, and liberty.The Syrian political system, through the government’s near complete control of society, is set upalmost perfectly to protect the principles and goals of the 1963 revolution. Foundation for Democratic Advancement |2011 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Syria Page 28
  29. 29. Chapter Eight: RecommendationsChapter eight will set out the FDA’s recommendations on how Syria can improve its electoralfairness score and thereby its electoral fairness.1) The Syrian government and its people need to decide whether or not adherence to theprinciples and goals of the 1963 revolution and the corresponding authoritarian system are in thebetter interests of the country as compared to adherence to the principles of political equality,electoral fairness, and liberty, and the corresponding pure democratic system.2) The Syrian government and its people need to question whether or not their interests are beingadvanced through adherence to the principles and goals of the 1963 revolution, and whether ornot their interests would be more advanced through adherence to the principles of puredemocracy.The FDA believes that electoral fairness is at the heart of pure democracy. The more fairelectorally a country is, the more democratic the country will be.Therefore, the FDA believes that by establishing electoral fairness, pure democracy in Syria willbe developed which in turn will improve the status of the Syrian people as a whole.The status of the Syrian people will be improved through a united and free country, supported bythe pillars of electoral fairness, political equality, and liberty. Foundation for Democratic Advancement |2011 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Syria Page 29
  30. 30. References:The following information was consulted and utilized in this audit report:1973 Syrian Election LawArab Election Watch: SyriaConstitution of the Syrian Arab Republic and its amendmentsLegislative Decree No. 24 of date 02/10/1981Middle Eastern Online: SyriaPressReference: SyriaSyrian Act No. 18 Date 3/7/1991Syrian Decree 50 (2001) Legalization of Private MediaSyrian Law 2 Date 3/29/1980Syrian Law No. 9 Date 11/06/2000“Syria: Upcoming Elections” (Feb 1, 2007) Arab Reform Bulletin, Carnegieendowment.org Foundation for Democratic Advancement |2011 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Syria Page 30
  31. 31. AppendixFDA Global Audit Results as of September 9, 2011: Foundation for Democratic Advancement |2011 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Syria Page 31
  32. 32. FDA Global Electoral Fairness Audit Results Overall Electoral Fairness Audit Scores <-- failing range|passing range --> 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% France Venezuela Bolivia NorwayNew Zealand Finland Lebanon Iraq Denmark Russia Sweden ArgentinaUnited States Canada Azerbaijan Mexico Tunisia Cameroon Yemen Bahrain Egypt Iran Libya Saudi Arabia Syria ©2011 Foundation for Democratic Advancement Foundation for Democratic Advancement |2011 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Syria Page 32
  33. 33. FDA Global Electoral Fairness Audit Results Laws and regulations on the equality of political content of the media and broadcasters before, during, and after an election <-- failing range | passing range --> 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% Russia Venezuela France Bolivia Norway Lebanon Iraq Azerbaijan Denmark Finland SwedenUnited States Canada Argentina TunisiaNew Zealand Yemen Bahrain Cameroon Egypt Iran Libya Mexico Saudi Arabia Syria ©2011 Foundation for Democratic Advancement Foundation for Democratic Advancement |2011 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Syria Page 33
  34. 34. FDA Global Electoral Fairness Audit Results Laws and regulations on the equality of candidate and political party influence before, during, and after an election <-- failing range | passing range --> 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% France VenezuelaNew Zealand Bolivia Norway Finland Lebanon SwedenUnited States Iraq Azerbaijan Argentina Denmark Russia Canada Mexico Bahrian Cameroon Egypt Iran Libya Saudi Arabia Syria Tunisia Yemen ©2011 Foundation for Democratic Advancement Foundation for Democratic Advancement |2011 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Syria Page 34
  35. 35. FDA Global Electoral Fairness Audit Results Laws and regulations on the equality of electoral (campaign) finance <-- failing range | passing range --> 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% France Venezuela BoliviaNew Zealand Finland Norway Argentina Denmark Lebanon Sweden Tunisia Azerbaijan Cameroon Canada MexicoUnited States Bahrain Egypt Iran Iraq Libya Russia Saudi Arabia Syria Yemen ©2011 Foundation for Democratic Advancement Foundation for Democratic Advancement |2011 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Syria Page 35
  36. 36. FDA Global Electoral Fairness Audit Results Laws and regulations on the equality of voter influence before, during, and after an election <-- failing range | passing range --> 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% France Bolivia Venezuela Argentina Iraq Mexico Canada Denmark FinlandNew ZealandUnited States Sweden Lebanon Norway Russia Azerbaijan Bahrain Cameroon Egypt Iran Libya Saudi Arabia Syria Tunisia Yemen ©2011 Foundation for Democratic Advancement Foundation for Democratic Advancement |2011 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Syria Page 36

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