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5 May, 2012 16:37

Ready, steady, vote: Syria set for parliamentary elections

The Syrian people are preparing to cast their votes in Monday`s parliamentary elections, which will be held under the new constitution stipulating a multi-party system in the country.

More than 7,000 candidates from 12 political parties, including the ruling Baath Party, will compete for the 250 seats in the parliament.Under the new constitution more than 14 million Syrians are eligible to vote in these elections.The current constitution was adopted in February after a national referendum. The document abolished the one-party system. The new corresponding article reads "The political system is based on the principle of political pluralism, and rule is only obtained and exercised democratically through voting."Another crucial change brought by the new constitution concerns the presidential terms. One and the same person cannot be in power longer than two consecutive seven-year terms.Many hope the upcoming elections will push the country towards democracy and towards the resolution of the crisis which has been tearing the nation apart for more than a year now.However, there are also those who criticize the event saying it is taking place in the wrong time and cite the lack of security and continuing violence.This comes as UN observers are in the country touring different areas tasked with verifying the implementation of UN envoy Kofi Annan`s peace plan. Despite the violations committed by both sides the plan is back on track, Annan’s spokesman, Ahmad Fawzi, said on Friday.Meanwhile, reports of continuing violence keep coming from Syria. Five people have reportedly been killed after an explosion at a car-wash in Syria's second largest city of Aleppo. Earlier, a blast ripped through the capital Damascus but no casualties were reported.