Prominent leaders of the Syrian political opposition expressed their support for a report on the post-Assad transition Wednesday at a press conference in Istanbul, Turkey. Farouk Tayfour, vice president of the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces, and George Sabra, president of the Syrian National Council, endorsed the report, which details the Syrian opposition’s comprehensive vision of the democratic transition in Syria.
The report, entitled Syria Transition Roadmap, covers the topics of constitutional reform, political reform, electoral reform, security sector reform, economic reform, and transitional justice in post-conflict Syria. The transition vision presented in Syria Transition Roadmap is the result of a year-long consensus-building research process conducted by the Syrian Expert House, a group of approximately 300 Syrian human rights activists, academics, judges, lawyers, leaders of the political opposition, defected government officials, defected military officers, members of local revolutionary councils, and commanders of the armed opposition. At the press conference, Dr. Radwan Ziadeh, Executive Director of the Syrian Center for Political and Strategic Studies and leader of the transitional justice working group, presented the final conclusions of the report, describing them as “representing the political common ground of the Syrian opposition on key issues.”
While speaking at the conference, National Coalition Vice President Farouk Tayfour declared that the report was “a great achievement for the Syrian people” and “a foundation for building a civil and democratic country in which pluralism prevails.” Syrian National Council President George Sabra said, “Syrians know well the type of country they want Syria to be in the future. They know the tasks of today and tomorrow and are drawing plans for the new era. Syrians’ collective rights will be decided according to the deep knowledge which Syrian elites have acquired from top institutions in the world and from the bitter experiences they have had under oppressive rule.” Sabra added, “This report is a direct reflection of Syria.”
Syria Transition Roadmap specifically recommends the following:
The future Syrian government will be a parliamentary system to ensure the presence of checks and balances in state institutions.
The starting point of the new Syrian constitution will be the Constitution of 1950, which will be amended and modified by a 290-member Constitutional Assembly, elected in a national election. The new Syrian constitution will be approved in a national referendum.
The Constitutional Assembly will be elected in an election featuring proportional representation across 32 multi-member districts with an average of 12 seats per constituency. Proportional representation will ensure party pluralism, allowing for first election to lay the foundation for a strong democratic system.
The independence of the judiciary will be guaranteed by completely separating it from the executive branch. National reconciliation will be achieved through a long transitional justice process in which justice is assured for all of Syria’s victims.
The security services will be restructured and cleansed of corrupt officials. All armed groups will be disarmed, demobilized, and reintegrated into Syrian society.
Syria will gradually abandon its state-led economic model in favor of a market-based economy. Public sector employees will continue to be paid while preparing for the overhaul of the state administrative structure.