Syrian soldiers walk past a billboard reading in Arabic text, “Syria Constitution... equality,” Damascus, February 23, 2012.
Syrians have begun voting in the first parliamentary elections under a new constitution approved by an overwhelming support of the people in a February referendum.
Voting has started in polling stations across Syria as about 7,195 candidates, including independent and opposition figures, are running for 250 parliamentary seats.
The Syrian government has assured that it will provide all cities across the country with any requirements for the elections.
Syrian Interior Minister Mohammad Ibrahim al-Sha’ar visited several polling stations in the capital, Damascus, on Sunday.
Syrian Information Minister Adnan Mahmoud said before the elections, “By taking part in the election[s], Syrians are defying the campaign of terrorism and aggression led by international and regional parties implicated in a terrorist war against our country.”
The elections are part of the reforms promised by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
About 90 percent of the Syrians approved a new constitution in a referendum held on February 26.
The new constitution excludes Article 8, which declared the ruling Ba’ath Party as the “leader of the state and society,” establishes a multiparty system in Syria and limits the presidential term to two seven-year periods.