Mahmoud Mar’ai Runs for Presidency

Lawyer Mahmoud Mar’ai is the only opposition figure running for the presidency in Syria.

The Syrian Supreme Constitutional Court announced the initial names of candidates for the Syrian presidential elections.

The three candidates are Bashar al-Assad, Abdullah Sallum Abdullah, and Mahmoud Ahmad Mar’ai.

Mahmoud Mar’ai in brief

Mahmoud Ibn Ahmad Mar’ai was born in 1957 in the Damascus countryside in the Qalamoun region. He is a lawyer and a known figure from the internal opposition. He chairs the Arab Organization for Human Rights in Syria and the Secretary-General of the Democratic Opposition Front.

He was a marginal figure during the Damascus Spring era in 2000-2001 and represented a number of political prisoners.

Mar’ai is a Nasserite figure. However, the major Nasserite Party in the country, the Democratic Socialist Arab Union, is boycotting the elections.

Mar’ai is a member of the internal opposition delegation to the Geneva talks.

He is the first opposition figure to run for the presidency in Syria. Both the internal and external opposition has rejected the presidential elections and called for boycotting them.

The Supreme Constitutional Court announced Monday the names of the three official candidates and gave grace for other hopefuls to present their grievance. Mar’ai is yet to disclose his election program and his proposal to run for the presidency.

However, Mar’ai has expressed over the years a number of stances expressing his approach as a member of the internal opposition, most notably his repeated calls for dialogue between the Syrian opposition and the Syrian regime to reach a solution to the Syrian crisis.

He has called to form a national unity government that would lead a political and administrative reform process that would help Syrians overcome the crisis.

Mar’ai believes that only the internal opposition can bring a solution to the Syrian crisis, albeit weak and with limited resources.

He criticized the government for monopolizing the political and economic domains and called for a national government to shoulder all responsibilities.

Mar’ai also called for national reconstruction and for giving the task of reconstruction to “friendly companies.” 

He criticized the Caesar Act, saying that its aim is to provoke the regime’s base against it. 


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