New referendum called for in Syria

According to ABC news, President Bashar al-Assad ordered a referendum on a new constitution that would open the doors for a multi-party system. The referendum would face a vote on Feb. 26, though it is not clear how a nationwide vote will occur when there has been daily battles, according to state television.

Currently, the constitution says al-Assad’s Baath Party is the leader of the state. But the new draft of the Constitution, which was obtained by The Associated Press, says “the state’s political system is based on political pluralism and power is practiced democratically through voting.”

The new referendum also says that no leader can rule more than two seven-year terms, according to the article. Al-Assad had already ruled for 12 years; his father ruled for 30 years.

Eleven months ago, when the protests began, protestors called for amendments to the constitution. However, with the current bloodshed and ruthless attacks on civilians, opposition leaders are calling for nothing less than al-Assad’s departure from office.

I agree. The people of Syria deserve nothing less than a new ruler, one who does not turn to bloodshed when people oppose him. The people have faced far too much to just give heed to amendments they have called for since the beginning. They deserve way more now. They deserve to feel safe at home, and the only way that can happen is if al-Assad steps (or is forced) down.

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About Haley Behre

I graduated from Syracuse University in December 2011 with majors in newspaper journalism and women and gender studies. Using these majors, I aspire to become a journalist who writes about human rights issues. I have held internships at the Syracuse New Times, Dash Media PR Firm, Syracuse Post-Standard and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. I also had an internship at the Not For Sale Campaign Syracuse chapter, which is a non-profit organization dedicated to eradicating human trafficking. I was born in Seoul, Korea on September 30, 1990 and moved to the United States before I was one year old. When I was 8, my family and I moved to Norwich, England for three years. While I was here I was immersed into a new culture and got to experience many things other children my age do not get to. Over the three years, I visited Ireland, France and the Netherlands several times, and Belgium, Wales and Sweden once. In the winter of 2010, I got an amazing opportunity to visit Kenya for a month. This was by far the single most eye-opening experience of my life thus far. The natural beauty of the landscape and its people do not compare to anything I have seen. I currently intern for the Reporters Committee for the Freedom of the Press in the hopes of getting a full-time job at a newspaper or non-profit after.
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