|New constitution approved in Syria amid violence |
2012-02-28 [10:48:59 hrs]
|Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government has announced hat voters had overwhelmingly approved a new Constitution in a referendum derided as a sham by his critics at home and abroad.|
|While foreign powers argued over whether to arm the rebels, the Syrian Interior Ministry said the reformed constitution, which could keep Assad in power until 2028, had received 89.4 percent approval from more than eight million voters. |
Syrian dissidents and Western leaders dismissed as a farce Sunday's vote, conducted in the midst of the country's bloodiest turmoil in decades, although Assad says the new constitution will lead to multi-party elections within three months.
Officials put national voter turnout at close to 60 percent, but diplomats who toured polling stations in Damascus saw only a handful of voters at each location. On the same day, at least 59 people were killed in violence around the country.