The 2012 Syrian Constitution has been largely (dis)regarded as embodying a mere policy intent to placate contestation, leaving the resorts of monocratic power untouched. While this might be true, there were formal changes whose study is worthwhile to understand the possibilities for some degree of democratization. This article delves into the 2012 charter and its main innovations, asking, first, from a descriptive-analytical perspective, what are the main trends underlying contemporary Syrian constitutional politics? Second, from an explanatory perspective, what specific constitutional provisions prevent the rule of law and the material constitutional transformation in democratic terms? What legal-institutional mechanisms account for this phenomenon? While the 2012 formal constitutional changes can be conceived as a ‘blueprint’ revealing governmental priorities, the outstanding democratic deficits might help to identify the opposition's priorities. Together, they contribute to delineate a bargaining range for the ongoing constituent negotiations.