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Syria hastens referendum on establishing multi-party system of governance

Beirut, Thu, 16 Feb 2012 ANI

Beirut (Lebanon), Feb.16 (ANI): Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has decided to hasten the holding of a referendum on a new constitution that seeks to establish a multi-party system.


The referendum was originally scheduled to take place at the end of March this year, but the beleagured Assad regime has now decided to hold it on February 26, the New York Times quoted the state-run Syrian news media, as saying on Wednesday.


The accelerated vote, to be followed within 90 days by parliamentary elections, appeared to be a modest gesture of government flexibility after nearly a year of the most sustained crackdown in the revolts of the Arab Spring.


Critics of Syria have dismissed the move as irrelevant at this stage in the crisis.


The call for constitutional changes was made by opposition figures at the beginning of the uprising. However, their demands have hardened into a clamor for Assad's departure - a refrain echoed by much of the Arab League, Syria's former ally Turkey, and many Western nations.


White House press secretary Jay Carney said the Assad regime's days are numbered, as romises of reforms have been usually followed by an increase in brutality and have never been delivered upon by this regime.


It is still not clear how voting could take place in the numerous areas where government forces are fighting daily battles with army defectors. (ANI)


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