A new Syrian law allowing a multiparty government system in the country has met with a muted response from the local opposition and has been harshly criticized by France.
There are many reasons why it took President Assad so long to come up with this reform, says journalist Neil Clark from Oxford.
“What’s held back the reforms, I think, first of all there has been obviously opposition in the Syrian ruling elite to these reforms. But also I think the international situation and the fact that Syria has been under pressure by the US and its allies for many, many years. And I think that one of the worries that President Assad might have had was that introducing democratic reforms would actually be exploited by the West in an attempt to get rid of his government,” he said, adding that the western line on Syria has been “counterproductive”.
France has called the announcement of multiparty government system in Syria ‘’a provocation’’ – a statement Neil Clark has called “quite extraordinary.”
“What it is all about is that the West is trying to depose that ruling government in Syria,” he explained.
Late on Wednesday, the UN Security Council adopted its president's official statement on Syria. The Security Council statement has once again condemned the violation of human rights and the use of force against civilians by the country's army and police, calling for an end to the violence.
The UN is also urging the Syrians to start a comprehensive national political process and carry out reforms as soon as possible.
The president of the Arab Lawyers Association, Sabah Al-Mukhtar, believes that Bashar Assad’s offer is a step in the right direction, although he sees a major problem in implementing the law.
“I have read the full text of the law,” he said. “It’s quite a good law. I think it’s a step forward. The problem is not with the legislation, the problem is with the implementation. The law has problems in it. For instance, it still requires that the parties are formed under the constitution, while Article 8 of the constitution gives the Baath Party the leadership.”