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Syria ruling party seeks to loosen restrictions on politics, press

[JURIST] Concluding a four-day party congress Thursday, Syria's ruling Baath party [Wikipedia entry] called for political reforms and a broadening of press freedom in an effort to move away from the emergency law in place since the party took power in 1963. Though an immediate abandonment of the emergency law is not expected, Baath party officials say that significant changes [BBC reform profile] may occur, such as senior government positions no longer being limited to top Baath party officers. Party officials also point to some adjustment of Article 8 of the 1973 Syrian constitution [text], which currently identifies the Baath party as "the leading party in the society and state." Syria, pressured by the UN to withdraw from Lebanon [JURIST report] earlier this year, has been pushed by the US and some European nations to make reform to its economic and political infrastructure. Aljazeera has more.

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