19:46 GMT +326 February 2017
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    Syrian cabinet approves law allowing new political parties

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    The Syrian government has approved a bill that allows the formation of political parties, reversing a ban on opposition groups since ruling Baath party took power in 1963, state news agency SANA said on Monday.

    The Syrian government has approved a bill that allows the formation of political parties, reversing a ban on opposition groups since ruling Baath party took power in 1963, state news agency SANA said on Monday.

    "The establishment of any party has to be based on ... a commitment to the constitution, democratic principles, the rule of law and a respect for freedom and basic rights," the new law reads.

    The law is part of a program of wider political reforms. It stipulates that the establishment of any party should not be based on religious, tribal, regional, denominational, or profession-related basis or on the basis of discrimination due to ethnicity, gender or race.

    The Baath party has been under pressure to abandon its monopoly on power amid a four-month uprising that has called for an end to the rule of President Bashar Assad.

    Assad has recently introduced a package of new measures designed to ease restrictions on politics and economy, giving unprecedented freedom in different spheres, and granting general amnesty.

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