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Last Updated: Thursday, 26 April 2007, 16:02 GMT 17:02 UK
Ruling Syrian party wins election
Syrian woman walks past election poster
The election will bring little change to Syria
The governing Baath party in Syria has, as expected, won an overwhelming majority of seats in the parliamentary election held earlier this week.

The opposition had boycotted the vote, describing it as a farce.

Two-thirds of parliamentary seats are permanently reserved for the Baathists - who have governed Syria for four decades - and their allies.

The remaining seats may be filled by independent candidates, but they must be vetted by the authorities.

Syrian Interior Minister Bassam Abdel Majeed defended the election, describing it as democratic and saying the turn-out was 56%

Parliament has a mostly nominal role - it cannot give or withdraw confidence in the government; it cannot draft laws, only debate those sent to it by the government; and it has no say in foreign policy.

Its first task will be to approve the Baath Party nomination of the president, Bashar Assad, for a second seven-year term.

Mr Assad will be the only candidate in a July referendum.

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