IBTimes: Syrian President announces parliamentary elections on April 13
Shortly after announcing a ceasefire in war-torn Syria, its president Bashar al-Assad has announced that parliamentary elections are to be held on April 13, according to International Business Times (IBTimes).
The decree was announced on February 22, state news agency SANA reported, IBTimes wrote.
The decree included seat allocations for each of the 15 provinces in Syria. The last parliamentary elections were held in May 2012. That was the first time that multiple parties, and not just the ruling Baath party which Assad heads, were allowed to stand.
Despite this, most of the 250 members of parliament elected to four-year terms came from the Baath party. The majority in parliament is currently held by the government coalition, with opposition Popular Front for Change and Liberation and independent MPs jointly holding 82 seats.
"Ironically, following the elections, Assad appointed the then agriculture minister Riad Hijab as his new prime minister. Hijab has since defected and now leads the main opposition grouping to Assad's regime from Saudi Arabia's Riyadh," IBTimes wrote.
More than 260,000 people have been killed since civil war broke out in Syria in March 2011. Millions have been forced to flee their homes, causing major refugee problems in neighbouring countries and Europe.
At a meeting in Vienna last November, world powers had agreed on an ambitious but as yet to be implemented roadmap that outlined six months of intro-Syrian talks leading to a new constitution and free elections within 18 months.
"It is not clear whether the announcement of the elections is part and parcel of the roadmap envisioned or the ceasefire just announced," IBTimes wrote.