BEIRUT

Middle East

Syria opposition mulls 5 candidates for 'premier'

Arab League general secretary Nabil al-Arabi (R) listens to the president of the opposition Syrian National Council (SNC), George Sabra (2ndL) speaking near SNC chief Abdel Basset Sayda (L) during a meeting at the Arab League headquarters in the Egyptian capital Cairo on February 24, 2013. AFP PHOTO KHALED DESOUKI

BEIRUT: At least five candidates are vying to become "prime minister" of a government Syria's opposition plans to create to administer rebel-held territory, a member of the Syrian National Council said on Tuesday.

The SNC, the main bloc within the opposition National Coalition, decided on Monday to present three names for the post, member Samir Nashar told AFP.

They are former SNC head Burhan Ghalioun and members Salim al-Moslet and Osama Kadi.

"Other names from outside the SNC are being circulated," including former Syrian premier Riad Hijab, who defected last summer, and Khaled Mustafa, Nashar said.

The premier will be elected in a secret ballot by the 64 general assembly members of the Syrian National Coalition on March 2.

The Coalition decided on Friday to form a government to run areas of the country "liberated" by rebels. During the upcoming summit in Istanbul, it will also decide on the composition of the planned government.

Coalition spokesman Walid al-Bunni said the new government would bring together "technocrats" tasked with managing electricity and water supplies and other key infrastructure.

The decision came as the conflict approaches the two-year mark, with the rebels having seized significant swathes of territory in the north and east.

Analysts say the move will help the opposition-in-exile gain credibility with Syrians inside the country and the international community, and also catch up with well-established Islamist groups.

 

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