On Tuesday, January 24, following the results of negotiations in Astana, the special envoy of the President of Russia Syria, Alexander Lavrentyev said that the Russian delegation handed over to representatives of the armed Syrian opposition to the draft Constitution, which was prepared by Russian specialists. Details of the Russian proposals Lavrentiev did not provide. According to him, the document was prepared “in order to accelerate the process of adoption of the new Constitution of Syria and give it an additional impulse”. Deputy foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov told “RIA Novosti” that the project includes ideas and thoughts that may be useful, they may discuss the Syrian opposition in Moscow, a visit which is scheduled for January 27.
A source close to the delegation of the armed opposition, which attended the talks in Astana, handed over to the text of the draft amendments to the Constitution consisting of 27 items. Earlier news Agency Aletihadpress citing activists published an article about the Russian side proposed changes that coincide with those that were transferred .
President for one term
Proposed by the Russian side in the project it is proposed to delete the word “Arab” from the full name of the country. Instead of “Syrian Arab Republic” country, in case of approval of the Russian version, will be officially called “the Syrian Republic”. It is also proposed to repeal the constitutional provision stating that “Islamic law must be the main source of legislation”. In addition, under the bill, the President is not obliged to be a Muslim, as required by the current edition of the basic law of Syria.
Candidate for the post of President of the Republic, as in the current Constitution of the country must be aged at least forty years, and have Syrian citizenship. However, the draft of the new Constitution abolished the conditions under which the parents of the candidate must “have Syrian nationality by birth”, and that the candidate must not be married my wife and not Syrian nationality. The President, according to the project, shall be elected for a term of seven years, but may not be re-elected for a second term in a row.
Under the bill, the President remains the Supreme commander of the armed forces, but he may declare a state of emergency and General mobilization only after obtaining the approval of the new body, which is recommended to create “Assembly regions”.
Under the project, the right to appoint judges of the Supreme constitutional Court must make the transition from President to Parliament. The national Assembly is also requested to transfer the right to appoint and dismiss the head of the Central Bank (the national Bank in accordance with the draft of the new Constitution).
The autonomy of the Kurdish areas
The Russian side also suggests to recognize the autonomy of the Kurdish regions, as well as the equality of the Kurdish and Arabic languages on the territory of the Kurdish area of self-government. In addition, it is proposed to give the right any other region of the country to establish, in accordance with the law, the language used by the majority of the population of the region, in addition to the state language.
The proposed project provides for the deepening of the implementation of the principle of decentralization of power and empowerment of local governments, as well as the creation of a new body — the Assembly of regions. The Parliament is invited to call a “people’s Assembly”. It is also proposed to abolish the current system of quotas of seats in Parliament, according to which half of the seats allocated to workers and peasants, and other representatives of other social categories.
The draft Constitution of Syria was developed based on the positions of Damascus, opposition and countries in the region, said Wednesday the Minister of foreign Affairs of Russia Sergey Lavrov. “We have extended in Astana the draft Constitution that we have worked with all the fact that over the years we have heard from the opposition and from the government and from the countries of the region”, — said Lavrov, speaking in the Duma (quoted by RIA news).
The current Constitution of Syria was adopted in a referendum in 2012, after the beginning of the military conflict.
The proposals are an attempt to find a compromise between all parties to the conflict, says senior lecturer at the HSE Leonid Isaev. “The fact that the Arabs always afraid of federalization, I think this is the first step towards the collapse of the state. The option of autonomy of the Kurds is in this respect intermediate between the unitary and the fully federated system,” — said Isayev.
Anyway, the decentralization of the country and the redistribution of power from the capital to the regions of Syria is necessary, sure, Isaev from the HSE. Therefore, the proposed option is ideal from the point of view of compromise between the different forces inside and outside Syria. For the existence of Syria as a unified state, autonomy of the Kurds assumes no threat, says Isaev from the HSE.
“We are in no way trying to impose this project, and present it as our constructive contribution, a gesture of goodwill, < … > any project with any pre-defined concept can be an additional stimulus, a catalyst to ensure that this process went on Syrian basis,” — said the goal of the Russian initiatives of the President of the international Federation Council Committee Konstantin Kosachev (quoted by RIA news).
With the participation of Georgy Makarenko.