Quotas and Turkish Approval: Reconstituting Local Councils in Northern Syria

Local councils are holding new elections in areas along the Turkish-Syrian border, according to Syria TV.

In northern and eastern Aleppo, in areas along the Turkish-Syrian border, local councils are holding new elections. The polls will reconstitute the councils after their annual session ended on October 15, based on the councils’ internal rules.

Each city has intensified, according to their own practices, the selection meetings to elect new local council members. Some cities have endured disputes between families due to disagreements over the selection of new council members.

Families in the city of Al-Bab, in the eastern countryside of Aleppo, nominated candidates for the local council, where each family has the right to nominate five, agreed-upon people. From this group, a number are then chosen to join the local council, according to a source close to the city’s local council. “The names of candidates for local council positions in Al-Bab, Bza’a and Qabasin, were submitted through the Turkish coordinators to the Turkish state of Gaziantep,” indicated the source, during his interview with Syria TV. “These candidates are meant to be approved after they have undergone security checks.”

Meanwhile, in the town of Souran, the municipality and local elders reached a consensus formula for choosing two members from each family whose number exceeds 100 members. In Marea, many elders coordinate and select members with the participation of the city’s families. It is contemplated that the new council will be formed before the end of this year.

How are local councils formed?

Syria TV contacted several sources familiar with the formation of local councils in the cities of Marea, Souran, Al-Bab, Jarablus, Afrin and Azaz. The sources were asked the following questions: How are members selected? What is the mechanism used to form councils? How are the seats distributed? What are the conditions and criteria that candidates must meet to join the council?

The sources – some of whom asked not to be identified because it is not permitted to discuss the issue with media outlets – explained that forming local councils depends on the quota mechanism for distributing council seats. The quotas can distribute seats among families of local people in various cities, according to several conditions and criteria that entitle the family to nominate their own local council representative.

On the other hand, it seems that technocratic competence and practical experience in local administration are limited and rare criteria for council members. Many local council members lack experience in management and administrative tasks. It also appears that many council members lack skills in efficiency, given that it is rare that they have professional degrees matching their required competencies in office. Indeed, candidates often become council members without having a basic education certificate.

Hassan al-Issa, a teacher in Marea, told the Syria TV website: “The selection of members is done randomly. It does not occur based on the candidate’s professional qualifications or practical experience. Under this system, the council member – who has a basic education certificate – is supervising an engineer who manages service delivery in the public sector. In this reality, it is not really possible to ignore the quota system.”

 

This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.

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