Syria is governed under the constitution of 1973 as amended. The president, who is head of state, is the most powerful political and military figure in the country. He is approved by popular referendum for a seven-year term, and is limited to serving (beginning in 2014) two terms. The government is headed by the prime minister, who is appointed by the president. The unicameral legislature consists of the 250-seat People's Council, whose members are popularly elected for four-year terms. Administratively, Syria is divided into 14 provinces or governates.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.