Syria 101: 4 attributes of Assad's authoritarian regime

The Baath Party

Headed by the Syrian president, the Arab Socialist Baath Party controls all three branches of government and its dominance in state institutions is essentially assured by the Constitution. Baathists parties dominate the National Progressive Front, a coalition of 10 political parties authorized by the regime. The Syrian parliament is dominated by Baathists, although a token fraction of non-Baathists and non-NPF members hold a few seats.

The Baath Party came to power through a 1963 military coup and has ruled largely unchallenged since then. The few attempts at subverting its control, including a rebellion by the Muslim Brotherhood in the early 1980s, were quickly and brutally quashed. After nearly five decades, the government lifted the emergency law in the face of weeks of deadly protests calling for political reform.

Source: US State Department

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