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Syria Government
Capital:
Damascus
Country name:
conventional long form: Syrian Arab Republic
conventional short form: Syria
local short form: Suriyah
former: United Arab Republic (with Egypt)
local long form: Al Jumhuriyah al Arabiyah as Suriyah
Government type:
republic under military regime since March 1963
Administrative divisions:
14 provinces (muhafazat, singular - muhafazah); Al Hasakah, Al Ladhiqiyah, Al Qunaytirah, Ar Raqqah, As Suwayda', Dar'a, Dayr az Zawr, Dimashq, Halab, Hamah, Hims, Idlib, Rif Dimashq, Tartus
Independence:
17 April 1946 (from League of Nations mandate under French administration)
National holiday:
Independence Day, 17 April (1946)
Constitution:
13 March 1973
Legal system:
based on Islamic law and civil law system; special religious courts; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Suffrage:
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
chief of state: President Bashar al-ASAD (since 17 July 2000); Vice Presidents Abd al-Halim ibn Said KHADDAM (since 11 March 1984) and Muhammad Zuhayr MASHARIQA (since 11 March 1984)
head of government: Prime Minister Muhammad Naji al-UTRI (since 10 September 2003), Deputy Prime Ministers Lt. Gen. Mustafa TALAS (since 11 March 1984), Farouk al-SHARA (since 13 December 2001), Dr. Muhammad al-HUSAYN (since 13 December 2001)
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president
elections: president elected by popular vote for a seven-year term; referendum/election last held 10 July 2000 - after the death of President Hafiz al-ASAD, father of Bashar al-ASAD - (next to be held NA 2007); vice presidents appointed by the president; prime minister and deputy prime ministers appointed by the president
note: Hafiz al-ASAD died on 10 June 2000; on 20 June 2000, the Ba'th Party nominated Bashar al-ASAD for president and presented his name to the People's Council on 25 June 2000
election results: Bashar al-ASAD elected president; percent of vote - Bashar al-ASAD 97.29%
Legislative branch:
unicameral People's Council or Majlis al-shaab (250 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)
election results: percent of vote by party - NPF 67%, independents 33%; seats by party - NPF 167, independents 83; note - the constitution guarantees that the Ba'th Party (part of the NPF alliance) receives one-half of the seats
elections: last held 2-3 March 2003 (next to be held NA 2007)
Judicial branch:
Supreme Constitutional Court (justices are appointed for four-year terms by the president); High Judicial Council; Court of Cassation; State Security Courts
Political parties and leaders:
National Progressive Front or NPF (includes Arab Socialist Renaissance (Ba'th) Party (governing party) [President Bashar al-ASAD, secretary general], Socialist Unionist Democratic Party [Ahmad al ASAD], Syrian Communist Party [leader NA], Unionist Socialist Party [leader NA], Arab Socialist Party [Abd al-Ghani QANNUT], and Arab Socialist Unionist Movement [Sami SUFAN]) [President Bashar al-ASAD, chairman]; Syrian Arab Socialist Party or ASP [Safwan QUDSI]; Syrian Communist Party or SCP [Yusuf FAYSAL]; Syrian Social National Party [Jubran URAYJI]
Political pressure groups and leaders:
conservative religious leaders; Muslim Brotherhood (operates in exile in Jordan and Yemen); non-Ba'th parties have little effective political influence
International organization participation:
ABEDA, AFESD, AMF, CAEU, FAO, G-24, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICCt (signatory), ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, ISO, ITU, LAS, NAM, OAPEC, OIC, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNRWA, UPU, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WMO, WToO
Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Imad MUSTAFA
chancery: 2215 Wyoming Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
FAX: [1] (202) 234-9548
telephone: [1] (202) 232-6313
Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Margaret SCOBEY
embassy: Abou Roumaneh, Al-Mansur Street, No. 2, Damascus
mailing address: P. O. Box 29, Damascus
telephone: [963] (11) 333-1342
FAX: [963] (11) 331-9678
Flag description:
three equal horizontal bands of red (top), white, and black, colors associated with the arab liberation flag; two small green five-pointed stars in a horizontal line centered in the white band; former flag of the united arab republic where the two stars represented the constituent states of syria and egypt; similar to the flag of yemen, which has a plain white band, iraq, which has three green stars (plus an arabic inscription) in a horizontal line centered in the white band, and that of egypt, which has a gold eagle of saladin centered in the white band; the current design dates to 1980
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