Electoral Workshop Press Release


Syrian Opposition Lays Groundwork for Post-Assad Political Transition


Istanbul, Turkey – On May 5 and 6, 2013, the Syrian Center for Political and Strategic Studies (SCPSS) hosted the Syrian Expert House, a gathering of Syrian academics, human rights activists, members of the political opposition, and professionals in Istanbul, Turkey to conduct a workshop on Electoral Reform in Syria. After two days of intense discussions, the Syrian Expert House concluded its meeting with specific collective recommendations. In their recommendations, the Syrian Expert House proposed a free and fair electoral process that would facilitate the eventual adoption of a new constitution in a post-Assad Syria.

Workshop participants unanimously recommended that a 290-member Constitutional Assembly be elected in an election featuring proportional representation across 20-30 multi-member districts with an average of 12 seats per constituency. The boundaries of the multi-member constituencies would be established by consolidating the existing 64 administrative units in Syria. Ballots will feature an open list system where Syrian citizens can vote for their party of choice or directly for an individual candidate within a party. The Syrian Expert House recommended that this election system include a gender quota to ensure appropriate representation of both genders in the future Constitutional Assembly. The Constitutional Assembly would then appoint an inclusive, non-partisan Constitution drafting committee while also serving as an interim legislature during the constitution drafting and approval process. Once a draft constitution is formulated and agreed by the Assembly, the second electoral event would be a referendum for the Syrian people to vote on the proposed constitution. The new Constitution, confirmed by the Syrian people, would define the future permanent electoral framework for Syria and form the basis for the third electoral event, which would likely be for a democratically established new parliament.

Members of the Syrian Expert House first met in October 2012  in Istanbul, Turkey at a conference widely regarded as the most inclusive gathering of the Syrian opposition to date. The Syrian Expert House was established by the Syrian Center for Political and Strategic Studies for producing thoroughly Syrian research outputs on the post-Assad political transition process in Syria. The Syrian Expert House will lay the necessary groundwork for promoting considered and deliberate reforms following the end of the Syrian conflict.

The Syrian Center for Political and Strategic Studies (SCPSS) is an independent, nongovernmental studies center. The SCPSS mission is to educate readers and activists about the Syrian Arab Republic from political, economic, social and strategic perspectives, through sponsorship programs that tackle theoretical, applied, and social science research, through studies, conferences, publications, symposiums, and seminars. SCPSS aims to translate major books and research papers which analyze the Syrian case in the various fields of economics, political and social science, and cultural studies.


For more information about SCPSS or the Syria Expert House, please contact Dr. Radwan Ziadeh, Executive Director of the Syrian Center for Political and Strategic Studies, Tel: (571) 205-3590, Email: radwan.ziadeh@gmail.com