The tide of demands for political and economic reforms in the Arab world having whipped Syria, President Bashar Assad is about to address the issue in a televised speech to the nation.
The big question on everyone's mind is: Will he go far enough to quell growing unrest in the country?
Ibrahim al-Amin, board chairman and chief editor of Lebanon's pro-Syrian daily al-Akhbar, this week prescribed the following reform menu to the Syrian leader in an opinion piece titled, "Syria: The race between sedition and reform."
the stateof emergency and issue a new emergency law to be invoked only in a state of war or in cases of natural disasters
- Release all political prisoners and detainees under a general amnesty
- Suspend forthwith Article 8 of the Constitution and set up an all-inclusive national committee to draw a new constitution inside six months
- Draft a new electoral for parliamentary and local elections and sanction the establishment of political parties through a simple “legal notice” procedure. Follow-on, by year’s end, with parliamentary elections under full judicial supervision
- Endeavor to reform the judiciary and uphold its independence by making all its branches, including the attorney general, accountable to the supreme judicial council
- Sever all dealings by civilian and military security services with citizens and create a solitary security service to deal with national security matters only
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- Dismiss the current council of ministers and the entire economic
team, and then bring in a consensual figure – such as Vice President Farouk al-Sharaa -- to form a new government
- Disband the National Progressive Front and sanction new alliances in or outside parliament
- Keep hands off the media sector and cease its funding. Lift media censorship and abolish state monopoly over print, broadcasting and digital media publishing
- Start the ball rolling to kill off the “parallel (or black) economy,” which has been the root cause of corruption in all sectors
- Nationalize the two cellular telecommunications companies, and freeze the assets of leading business figures pending investigation by an independent judicial body
- Close the file of missing persons with full transparency and issue passports to all Syrian citizens except in cases of high treason.