Arab civilization, which is part of human heritage, has faced through its long history great challenges aimed at breaking its will and subjecting it to colonial domination, but it has always rose through its own creative abilities to exercise its role in building human civilization.
The Syrian Arab Republic is proud of its Arab identity and the fact that its people are an integral part of the Arab nation. The Syrian Arab Republic embodies this belonging in its national and pan-Arab project and the work to support Arab cooperation in order to promote integration and achieve the unity of the Arab nation.
The Syrian Arab Republic considers international peace and security a key objective and a strategic choice, and it works on achieving both of them under the International Law and the values of right and justice.
The Syrian Arab role has increased on the regional and international levels over the past decades, which has led to achieving human and national aspirations and achievements in all fields and domains. Syria has occupied an important political position as it is the beating heart of Arabism, the forefront of confrontation with the Zionist enemy and the bedrock of resistance against colonial hegemony on the Arab world and its capabilities and wealth. The long struggle and sacrifices of our people for the sake of its independence, progress and national unity has paved the way for building the strong state and promoting cohesion between the people and their Syrian Arab army which is the main guarantor and protector of the homeland’s sovereignty, security, stability and territorial integrity; thus, forming the solid foundation of the people’s struggle for liberating all occupied territories.
The Syrian society with all its components and constituents and through its popular, political and civil institutions and organizations, has managed to accomplish achievements that demonstrated the depth of civilizational accumulation represented by the Syrian society, its unwavering will and its ability to keep pace with the changes and to create the appropriate environment to maintain its human role as a historical and effective power in the march of human civilization.
Since the beginning of the 21st century, Syria, both as people and institutions had faced the challenge of development and modernization during tough regional and international circumstances which targeted its national sovereignty. This has formed the incentive to accomplish this Constitution as the basis for strengthening the rule of law.
The completion of this Constitution is the culmination of the people’s struggle on the road to freedom and democracy. It is a real embodiment of achievements, a response to shifts and changes, an evidence of organizing the march of the state towards the future, a regulator of the movement of its institutions and a source of legislation. All of this is attainable through a system of fundamental principles that enshrines independence, sovereignty and the rule of the people based on election, political and party pluralism and the protection of national unity, cultural diversity, public freedoms, human rights, social justice, equality, equal opportunities, citizenship and the rule of law, where the society and the citizen are the objective and purpose for which every national effort is dedicated. Preserving the dignity of the society and the citizen is an indicator of the civilization of the country and the prestige of the state.
TITLE I. BASIC PRINCIPLES
CHAPTER I. POLITICAL PRINCIPLES
The Syrian Arab Republic is a democratic state with full sovereignty, indivisible, and may not waive any part of its territory, and is part of the Arab homeland; The people of Syria are part of the Arab nation.
The system of governance in the state shall be a republican system; Sovereignty is an attribute of the people; and no individual or group may claim sovereignty. Sovereignty shall be based on the principle of the rule of the people by the people and for the people; The People shall exercise their sovereignty within the aspects and limits prescribed in the Constitution.
The religion of the President of the Republic is Islam; Islamic jurisprudence shall be a major source of legislation; The State shall respect all religions, and ensure the freedom to perform all the rituals that do not prejudice public order; The personal status of religious communities shall be protected and respected.
The official language of the state is Arabic.
The capital of the state is Damascus.
The flag of the Syrian Arab Republic consists of three colors: red, white and black, in addition to two stars, each with five heads of green color. The flag is rectangular in shape; its width equals two thirds of its length and consists of three rectangles evenly spaced along the flag, the highest in red, the middle in white and lowest in black, and the two stars are in the middle of the white rectangle; The law identifies the state’s emblem, its national anthem and the respective provisions.
The constitutional oath shall be as follows: “I swear by the Almighty God to respect the country’s constitution, laws and Republican system, to look after the interests and freedoms of the people, to safeguard the homeland’s sovereignty, independence, freedom and to defend its territorial integrity and to act in order to achieve social justice and the unity of the Arab Nation”.
As a national heritage that promotes national unity in the framework of territorial integrity of the Syrian Arab Republic, the Constitution shall guarantee the protection of cultural diversity of the Syrian society with all its components and the multiplicity of its tributaries.
Public organizations, professional unions and associations shall be bodies that group citizens in order to develop society and attain the interests of its members. The State shall guarantee the independence of these bodies and the right to exercise public control and participation in various sectors and councils defined in laws; in areas which achieve their objectives, and in accordance with the terms and conditions prescribed by law.
The army and the armed forces shall be a national institution responsible for defending the security of the homeland and its territorial integrity. This institution shall be in the service of the people’s interests and the protection of its objectives and national security.
Democratically elected councils at the national or local level shall be institutions through which citizens exercise their role in sovereignty, state-building and leading society.
CHAPTER II. ECONOMIC PRINCIPLES
Natural resources, facilities, institutions and public utilities shall be publicly owned, and the state shall invest and oversee their management for the benefit of all people, and the citizens’ duty is to protect them.
Collective and individual private ownership shall be protected in accordance with the following basis:
The law shall determine the maximum level of agricultural ownership and agricultural investment to ensure the protection of the farmer and the agricultural laborer from exploitation and to ensure increased production.
The right of inheritance shall be maintained in accordance with the law.
CHAPTER III. SOCIAL PRINCIPLES
Society in the Syrian Arab Republic shall be based on the basis of solidarity, symbiosis and respect for the principles of social justice, freedom, equality and maintenance of human dignity of every individual.
Martyrdom for the sake of the homeland shall be a supreme value, and the State shall guarantee the families of the martyrs in accordance with the law.
The state shall provide women with all opportunities enabling them to effectively and fully contribute to the political, economic, social and cultural life, and the state shall work on removing the restrictions that prevent their development and participation in building society.
The state shall shoulder, in solidarity with the community, the burdens resulting from natural disasters.
Education, health and social services shall be the basic pillars for building society, and the state shall work on achieving balanced development among all regions of the Syrian Arab Republic.
Protection of the environment shall be the responsibility of the state and society and it shall be the duty of every citizen.
CHAPTER IV. EDUCATIONAL AND CULTURAL PRINCIPLES
The educational system shall be based on creating a generation committed to its identity, heritage, belonging and national unity.
Physical education shall be an essential pillar in building society; and the state shall encourage it to prepare a generation which is physically, morally and intellectually fit.
The state shall support scientific research and all its requirements, ensure the freedom of scientific, literary, artistic and cultural creativity and provide the necessary means for that end. The state shall provide any assistance for the progress of sciences and arts, and shall encourage scientific and technical inventions, creative skills and talents and protect their results.
The state shall protect antiquities, archaeological and heritage sites and objects of artistic, historical and cultural value.
TITLE II. RIGHTS, FREEDOMS AND THE RULE OF LAW
CHAPTER I. RIGHTS AND FREEDOMS
Every citizen shall have the right to participate in the political, economic, social and cultural life and the law shall regulate this.
Every citizen shall be subjected to the duty of respecting the Constitution and laws.
Confidentiality of postal correspondence, telecommunications and radio and other communication shall be guaranteed in accordance with the law.
Political refugees shall not be extradited because of their political beliefs or for their defense of freedom.
Payment of taxes, fees and public costs shall be a duty in accordance with the law.
The state shall guarantee freedom of the press, printing and publishing, the media and its independence in accordance with the law.
Citizens shall have the right to assemble, peacefully demonstrate and to strike from work within the framework of the Constitution principles, and the law shall regulate the exercise of these rights.
Freedom of forming associations and unions shall be based on a national basis, for lawful purposes and by peaceful means which are guaranteed in accordance with the terms and conditions prescribed by law.
The state shall guarantee the protection of national unity, and the citizens’ duty is to maintain it.
The law shall regulate the Syrian Arab citizenship.
Election and referendum are the right and duty of the citizens and the law shall regulate their exercise.
CHAPTER II. THE RULE OF LAW
The rule of law shall be the basis of governance in the state.
Provisions of the laws shall only apply to the date of its commencement and shall not have a retroactive effect, and it may apply otherwise in matters other than criminal.
Any assault on individual freedom, on the inviolability of private life or any other rights and public freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution shall be considered a punishable crime by the law.
TITLE III. STATE AUTHORITIES
CHAPTER I. LEGISLATIVE AUTHORITY
The legislative authority of the state shall be assumed by the People’s Assembly in accordance with the manner prescribed in the Constitution.
The People’s Assembly term shall be for four calendar years from the date of its first meeting and it may not be extended except in case of war by a law.
Members of the People’s Assembly shall be elected by the public, secret, direct and equal vote in accordance with the provisions of the Election Law.
A member of the People’s Assembly shall represent the whole people, and his/her commission may not be defined by a restriction or condition, and shall exercise duties under the guidance of his/hers honor and conscience.
Voters shall be the citizens who have completed eighteen years of age and met the conditions stipulated in the Election Law.
The Election Law shall include the provisions that ensure:
If the membership of a member of the People’s Assembly is vacant for some reason, an alternative shall be elected within sixty days from the date of the membership vacancy, provided that the remaining term of the Assembly is no less than six months. The membership of the new member shall end by the expiry date of the mandate of the Assembly’s term, and the Election Law shall determine the cases of vacant membership.
Members of the People’s Assembly shall swear-in the constitutional oath mentioned in Article 7 of the Constitution.
The emoluments and compensations of members of the People’s Assembly shall be determined by a law.
The People’s Assembly shall put its rules of procedure to regulate the manner of working in it and the way of exercising its functions, and define terms of reference of the Assembly’ office.
Members of the People’s Assembly shall not be questioned in a civil or criminal manner because of events or opinions they express or during a vote in public or private meetings and during the work of the committees.
Members of the People’s Assembly shall enjoy immunity for the mandate duration of the Assembly. Criminal proceedings against any member of them shall be taken after having a prior permission from the Assembly unless caught in the act. In non-session cases, permission shall be taken from the Assembly’s office, and the Assembly shall be notified by any action taken at its first meeting.
Members of the People’s Assembly shall exercise the right of proposing laws and directing questions and inquiries to the cabinet or a minister in accordance with the rules of procedure of the Assembly.
The People’s Assembly undertakes the following functions:
The Assembly might form temporary committees from among its members to collect information and find facts on the issues related to exercising its authorities.
The people’s Assembly might, after approving the budget, approve laws which could create new expenditures and new revenues to cover them.
The final accounts of the fiscal year shall be presented to the People’s Assembly within a period not longer than one year as of the end of this year. The final account is done by a law; and the same procedures in approving the budget apply to the final account period.
CHAPTER II. THE EXECUTIVE AUTHORITY
The President of the Republic and the Prime Minister exercise executive authority on behalf of the people within the limits provided for in the constitution.
The candidate for the office of President of the Republic should:
The nomination of a candidate for the office of President of the Republic shall be as follows:
The President of the Republic is elected for 7 years as of the end of the term of the existing President. The President can be elected for only one more successive term.
The President of the Republic shall be sworn in before the People’s Assembly before assuming his duties by repeating the constitutional oath mentioned in Article 7 of the Constitution.
If an impediment prevented the President of the Republic from continuing to carry out his duties, the Vice-president shall deputize for him.
If the President of the Republic resigned from office, he should address the resignation letter to the People’s Assembly.
The protocol, privileges and allocations required for the office of President of the Republic shall be set out in a law.
The President of the Republic shall insure respect for the Constitution, the regular running of public authorities, protection of national unity and survival of the state.
The President of the Republic shall name the Prime Minister, his deputies, ministers and their deputies, accept their resignation and dismiss them from office.
In a meeting chaired by him, the President of the Republic lays down the general policy of the state and oversees its implementation.
The President of the Republic might call the Council of Ministers to a meeting chaired by him; and might ask for reports from the Prime Minister and the ministers.
The President of the Republic shall pass the laws approved by the People’s Assembly. He might also reject them through a justified decision within one month of these laws being received by the Presidency. If they are approved a second time by the People’s Assembly with a two thirds majority, they shall be passed by the President of the Republic.
The President of the Republic shall pass decrees, decisions and orders in accordance with the laws.
The President of the Republic declares war, calls for general mobilization and concludes peace agreements after obtaining the approval of the People’s Assembly.
The President of the Republic declares the state of emergency and repeals it in a decree taken at the Council of Ministers chaired by him with a two thirds majority, provided that the decree is presented to the People’s Assembly in its first session. The law sets out the relevant provisions.
The President of the Republic accredits heads of diplomatic missions in foreign countries and accepts the credentials of heads of foreign diplomatic missions in the Syrian Arab Republic.
The President of the Republic is the Commander in Chief of the army and armed forces; and he issues all the decisions necessary to exercise this authority. He might delegate some of these authorities.
The President of the Republic appoints civilian and military employees and ends their services in accordance with the law.
The President of the Republic concludes international treaties and agreements and revokes them in accordance with provisions of the Constitution and rules of international law.
The President of the Republic grants special amnesty and might reinstate individuals.
The President of the Republic has the right to award medals and honors.
The President of the Republic might address letters to the People’s Assembly and make statements before it.
The President of the Republic might prepare draft laws and refer them to the People’s Assembly to consider them for approval.
If a grave danger and a situation threatening national unity, the safety and integrity of the territories of the homeland occurs, or prevents state institutions from shouldering their constitutional responsibilities, the President of the Republic might take the quick measures necessitated by these circumstances to face that danger.
The President of the Republic might set up special bodies, councils and committees whose tasks and mandates are set out in the decisions taken to create them.
The President of the Republic might call for a referendum on important issues which affect the higher interests of the country. The result of the referendum shall be binding and come into force as of the date of its announcement; and it shall be published by the President of the Republic.
The President of the Republic is not responsible for the acts he does in carrying out his duties except in the case of high treason; and the accusation should be made through a People’s Assembly decision taken by the Assembly in a public vote and with a two thirds majority in a secret session based on a proposal made by at least one third of the members. He shall be tried before the Supreme Constitutional Court.
The allocations and benefits of the Prime Minister, his deputies and the ministers shall be set out in a law.
The Prime Minister, his deputies and the ministers shall be sworn in before the President of the Republic when a new government is formed by repeating the constitutional oath mentioned in Article 7 of the Constitution before they start their work. When the government is reshuffled, only the new ministers shall be sworn in.
The Prime Minister, his deputies and the ministers shall be responsible before the President of the Republic and the People’s Assembly.
The minister is the highest administrative authority in his ministry, and he shall implement the state’s public policy in relation to his ministry.
While in office, ministers shall be barred from being members of the boards of private companies or agents for such companies and from carrying out, directly or indirectly, any commercial activity or private profession.
An individual can be a minister and a member of the People’s Assembly at the same time.
Provisions applying to ministers apply to deputy ministers.
The mandate of the Council of Ministers is as follows:
The Prime Minister and the ministers exercise the authorities provided for in the laws in force in a manner that does not contravene the authorities given to other authorities in the Constitution, in addition to the other authorities stated in its provisions.
The Syrian Arab Republic consists of administrative units; and the law states their number, boundaries, authorities and the extent to which they enjoy the status of a legal entity, financial and administrative independence.
CHAPTER III. THE JUDICIAL AUTHORITY
The judicial authority is independent; and the President of the Republic insures this independence assisted by the Supreme Judicial Council.
The law regulates the different branches, categories and degrees of the judicial system. It also states the rules for the mandates of different courts.
The law states the conditions for appointing judges, promoting, transferring, disciplining and dismissing them.
The Attorney General’s Office is a single judicial institution headed by the Minister of Justice. The law regulates its function and mandate.
The State’s Council is in charge of Administrative Judiciary. It is an independent judicial and advisory body. The law states its mandate and conditions for appointing, promoting, transferring, disciplining and dismissing them.
TITLE IV. THE SUPREME CONSTITUTIONAL COURT
The Supreme Constitutional Court is an independent judicial body based in Damascus.
The Supreme Constitutional Court consists of at least seven members, one of them shall be named president in a decree passed by the President of the Republic.
An individual cannot be a member of the Supreme Constitutional Court and a minister or a member of the People’s Assembly at the same time. The law states the other jobs that cannot be done by a member of the Court.
The duration of membership of the Supreme Constitutional Court shall be four years renewable.
Members of the Supreme Constitutional Court cannot be dismissed from its membership except in accordance with the law.
President and members of the Supreme Constitutional Court shall be sworn in before the President of the Republic in the presence of the Speaker of the People’s Assembly before they assume their duties. They repeat the following oath: “I swear by the Great Almighty to respect the Constitution and the laws of the country and to carry out my responsibilities with integrity and impartiality”.
The mandate of the Supreme Constitutional Court is as follows:
The Supreme Constitutional Court is charged with control over the constitutionality of the laws as follows:
The Supreme Constitutional Court shall not consider the constitutionality of the laws put by the President of the Republic to a referendum and obtained the approval of the people.
The law regulates the principles of considering and ruling on the issues under the mandate of the Supreme Constitutional Court. The law states the number of its staff and the conditions which need to be met by its members. It also states their immunity, responsibilities, salaries and privileges.
TITLE V. AMENDING THE CONSTITUTION
TITLE VI. GENERAL AND TRANSITIONAL PROVISIONS
The Preamble of the Constitution is considered part and parcel of the Constitution
No person carrying another nationality, in addition to the nationality of the Syrian Arab Republic, might occupy the office of President of the Republic, Vice-president, Prime Minister, deputy prime ministers, ministers, members of the People’s Assembly or members of the Supreme Constitutional Court.
This constitution shall not be amended before 18 months of coming into force.
The legislation in force and passed before approving this Constitution remain in force until they are amended in accordance with its provisions, provided that the amendment is done within a period of no longer than 3 years.
The term of office of the current President of the Republic terminates after 7 years of his being sworn in as President. He has the right to stand again for the office of President of the Republic. Provisions of Article 88 of this Constitution apply to him as of the next presidential elections.
Elections for the first People’s Assembly under this Constitution shall be held within 90 days of the date of its being approved through referendum.
This Constitution shall be published in the official bulletin and enters into force as of being approved.