The current Constitution of the Syrian Arab Republic was adopted on 26 February 2012, replacing one that had been in force since 13 March 1973. The current constitution designates the state's government as a "democratic" and "republican" system. It determines Syria's identity as Arab and describes the country as a part of the wider "Arab homeland" and its people as an integral part of the Arab nation. The constitution supports the Pan-Arab programme for co-operation with other Arab nations to eventually achieve Arab Union.[1]


Timeline of the Syrian constitutions
Syrian Constitution of 2012Syrian Constitution of 1973Provisional Syrian Constitution of 1969Provisional Syrian Constitution of 1964Provisional Constitution of the United Arab RepublicSyrian Constitution of 1953Syrian Constitution of 1950Syrian Constitution of 1930

Early constitutions

The Syrian Constitution of 1930, drafted by a committee under Ibrahim Hananu, was the founding constitution of the First Syrian Republic. The constitution required the President to be of Muslim faith (article 3). It was replaced by the Constitution of 5 September 1950, which was restored following the Constitution of 10 July 1953 and the Provisional Constitution of the United Arab Republic. It was eventually replaced by the Provisional Constitution of 25 April 1964 which itself was replaced by the Provisional Constitution of 1 May 1969.

Constitution of 1973

Main article: Syrian Constitution of 1973

A new constitution was adopted on 13 March 1973 and was in use until 27 February 2012. It entrenched the power of the Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party, its §8 describing the party as "the leading party in the society and the state", even if Syria was not, as is often believed, a one-party system in formal terms.[2] The constitution has been amended twice. Article 6 was amended in 1981.[3] The constitution was last amended in 2000 when the minimum age of the President was lowered from 40 to 34.[4]

Constitution of 2012

Following the 2011 Syrian revolution, Syrian government drafted a new constitution and put it to referendum on 26 February 2012, which was unmonitored by international observers. The modifications in the constitution were cosmetic and part of Ba'athist government's response to the nation-wide protests. Since the move monopolized power of the Government of Syria and was drafted without consultation outside loyalist circles, Syrian opposition and revolutionary parties boycotted the referendum, resulting in very low participation as per government data.[5] The referendum resulted in the adoption of the new constitution, which came into force on 27 February 2012.[6]

Proposed Constitution of 2017

On the 23th of January, 2017 Russian diplomats presented a draft constitution for a new Syrian constitution which was rejected the opposition delegates.[7][8] The Draft removed the word; "Arabic" from the official name of the country "Syrian Arab Republic" as a concession to the Kurdish Population. The draft from the Russian delegation also proposed the removing Article 3 of the current 2012 Syrian constitution that stipulated that the president has to be part of the Muslim faith. Additionally, the draft 2017 constitution also presented that the Syrian president would only be allowed to be elected for one term of seven years, without the right to re-election. The Constitution would have made the country have a parliament with two chambers and rejects Islamic sharia as the basis for law.


The new constitution of 2012 consolidated the authoritarian structure and centralized it under a highly powerful presidency.[5] It also maintains Ba'ath party's explicitly Arab nationalist stance and advocates regional integration as a means for achieving "Arab Unity". The constitution declares Arabic as the official language of the country.[1] The Constitution is divided into 6 parts (excluding the Introduction) which are called Chapters.


Notable changes in the constitution include:

Expansion of Presidential Powers

Articles 83-150 of the new constitution increased the Presidential powers in the executive, legislature and judiciary. The executive role of the Syrian President presumes his control over all three branches, bestowing the President with unchecked powers through at least 21 articles. Some of the extraordinary powers bestowed by the 2012 Constitution that elevates the Presidential role include:[5][11][1]


The 2012 Constitution remains un-recognized by almost all bodies of the Syrian opposition, which boycotted the referendum. The constitution was drafted by Ba'athist loyalists and was part of government attempts to monopolise its power as well as suppressing the 2011-12 Syrian protests.[5] International experts have assessed that the constitution has no "checks and balances", making it unfeasible for a political transition. Syrian opposition activists have demanded the repeal of at least 21 clauses in the Constitution which bestows unrestrained powers on the President, banishment of emergency courts and the withdrawal of more than 20 emergency edicts as the precondition to start a meaningful transition process.[11] Popular Front for Change and Liberation, the sole opposition front that had initially participated in the Syrian People's Assembly, withdrew its recognition in 2016 after Bashar al-Assad's scuttling of the Geneva negotiations.[13]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p "Syrian Arab Republic: Constitution, 2012". refworld. 26 February 2021. Archived from the original on 5 March 2019.
  2. ^ "Syria's Assad to 'End' One-Party Rule". 15 February 2012. Retrieved 15 April 2018.
  3. ^ "Amending the Syrian constitution... Achieving a quota or reaching a solution?". 18 June 2018.
  4. ^ "Amending the Syrian constitution... achieving a quota or reaching a solution?". Enab Baladi. 18 June 2018. Retrieved 2020-06-03.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Szmolk, Inmaculada (2017). Political Change in the Middle East and North Africa: After the Arab Spring. Edinburgh, United Kingdom: Edinburgh University Press. pp. 132–133. ISBN 978-1-4744-1528 6.
  6. ^ "Presidential Decree on Syria's New Constitution". Syrian Arab News Agency. 28 February 2012. Retrieved 28 February 2012.
  7. ^ "Syrian Arab Republic 2017 Constitution - Constitute". Retrieved 2023-12-01.
  8. ^ "Key points of the Russian proposal for Syria's new constitution". 2017-01-26.
  9. ^ a b "English Translation of the Syrian Constitution". Qordoba. 15 February 2012. Retrieved 28 February 2012.
  10. ^ Constitution of the Syrian Arabic Republic, SANA, 26-02-2012
  11. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Syria’s Transition: Governance & Constitutional Options Under U.N. Security Council Resolution 2254 (PDF). The Carter Center. 2016. p. 7. Archived from the original (PDF) on 30 March 2023.
  12. ^ Syria’s Transition: Governance & Constitutional Options Under U.N. Security Council Resolution 2254 (PDF). The Carter Center. 2016. Archived from the original (PDF) on 30 March 2023.
  13. ^ Szmolk, Inmaculada; Szmolka, Durán, Inmaculada, Marién (2017). "Chapter 17: Autocratisation, authoritarian progressions and fragmented states". Political Change in the Middle East and North Africa: After the Arab Spring. Edinburgh, United Kingdom: Edinburgh University Press. p. 416. ISBN 978-1-4744-1528 6.((cite book)): CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)