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Ayman al-Asfari Eyed to Replace Jarba as Head of Coalition

London-based Syrian businessman and oil mogul Ayman Asfari has emerged as a leading contender
Ayman al-Asfari Eyed to Replace Jarba as Head of Coalition

With new presidential elections for the Syrian National Coalition approaching, the old problem of leadership for the group has again emerged.


Ahmad Assi Jarba, the current president of the Coalition, who has been elected twice, cannot stay in his position for a third term according to the constitution of the Coalition, unless the legal commission issues a fatwa to approve an extension.


Meanwhile, disagreements have emerged between factions and movements within the Coalition regarding the next president, especially since Jarba's team is studying the possibility of either keeping him as president or abdication to someone close to him, in a step similar to Putin-Medvedev style leadership swap.


However, sources in the Syrian opposition said the Democratic Movement considers the battle of the presidency of the Coalition the most fundamental battle. The senior members of this movement want to exclude Jarba in the light of his public disagreements with their leaders.


But finding an alternative to replace Jarba presents a problem. The Syrian Muslim Brotherhood, which has huge influence over the Coalition and the Syrian National Council, do not want Jarba to stay, despite attempts to placate them.


Sources with the Syrian opposition confirmed for All4syria that the Democrat Movement have settled on Syrian businessman Ayman al-Asfari its goal, especially since he is one of the top supporters of this movement, politically and financially.


But some sources that met Asfari have suggested that he has refuses this offer, although they confirm that he is the most suitable for the position, as he is a pragmatist and successful businessman and he knows well how to run large and small enterprises.


A Syrian-British businessman, Asfari, 56, lives in London. He heads Petrofac oil and gas group, which he founded, and which is one of the top 100 British companies, and one of the major oil companies in the world, with about 12,000 employees.


Asfari has businesses in more than 30 countries around the world, and according to some sources, about 25,000 employees globally. He pays half a billion pounds in annual taxes. Asfari was selected the "Businessman of the Year" in Britain more than once, and he is the only Syrian listed in Forbes list of the world's wealthiest men.


Translated and edited by The Syrian Observer


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