Syria to hold referendum on new draft constitution

BASSEM MROUE Associated Press Published:

BEIRUT (AP) -- Syria's state-run news agency says President Bashar Assad has set Feb. 26 for a national referendum on the country's new draft constitution.

The document was handed over to Assad last week by members of the drafting committee. The new draft reportedly leaves out a clause that says the ruling Baath Party is the "leader of the nation and society."

Amendments to the constitution were a key demand by opposition groups at the beginning of the uprising against Assad in March, but the groups now say they accept nothing less than Assad's departure.