If Ahmad Jarba, the President of the Syrian National Coalition, and Mostafa Sabbagh, the former Secretary General left the competition for the Coalition presidency due at the end of this month, finding a new president for the Coalition would be easy.
Jarba would be not able to nominate himself for the third time according to the rules of procedure of the National Coalition, besides, Sabbagh has dismissed the idea of nomination for the presidency.
The question, now, is who should be the next Coalition president and how would things go?
Until now, there are no formal nominations for the Coalition presidency, however, many names have been put forward. They include Riyad Hijab, despite the fact that he has not announced his intention to nominate himself, and Hadi Bahra, the main coordinator of the Geneva II talks.
Between these two name, others have also emerged, including Michael Kilo and Bader Jamous, the Secretary General.
In reality, Kilo’s nomination would be crucial for the coming election for two reasons; the first is that his nomination would be at the expense of Hadi al-Bahra as both are close to Jarba and it is not expected they will divide their blocs' votes inside the Coalition.
The second reason is Kilo’s good international and regional reputation and recognition give him a good chance of winning the presidency.
However, it looks as though Kilo is hesitant to nominate himself, as he used to be free from the presidency pressure and a balance within the Coalition. he has managed to play a middle role between the opposition forces since the beginning of the Syrian revolution in general, and especially since his Democratic bloc entered the Coalition.
The other scenario is that Kilo would not nominate himself. In this case, the presidency election battle would be exclusively between Bahra and Hijab, because Jamous is not very well recognized regionally, while Hijab is competitive in his experience as the former, defected Prime Minister, and is internationally recognized. He also has good relationships with Gulf countries.
On the other hand, Bahra can be seen as an extension of Jarba, as he is close to Saudi Arabia, besides his activities away from media as a General Secretary.
As far as numbers are concerned, the Syrina National Council and Muslim Brotherhood inside the Coalition remain the most powerful, and whoever manages to win those big blocs’ support will have far better chances of winning the Presidency. Initially, it is expected that the 44 votes who withdrew from the General Assembly meeting when Jarba was re-elected for second time six months ago, would support Hijab. On the other hand, the national figures, the Local Councils and the Syrian Forum for Business support Sabbagh, and definitely would not give their votes to someone close to Jarba.
For the Muslim Brotherhood, Jarba made a grave mistake by sending congratulations to Abel Fattah al-Sisi for winning the Presidency Election in Egypt and revenge might occur through voting.
It is almost certain that the 14 votes the Military council has would go to Bahra, as most its members have good relationship with Jarba, while other independent votes would not be able to decide yet.
When the names of nominees are announced, mapping of the votes will be clearer, however, surprises have still happened, like when Jarba won the Coalition presidency twice, out of blue.
Translated and edited by The Syrian Observer