Political and Administrative Reform
The stepping down of the head of the current regime, President Bashar al-Assad, will mark the beginning of the transition in Syria. Thus, the Political and Administrative Reform Working Group discussed several scenarios for the end of the crisis, after which an interim government would be formed on the basis of a political agreement based on the conflict’s resolution. Therefore, the Syrian Expert House worked on two main aspects of the political transition. The first was the management of the transition phase, for which the participants recommended the establishment of constitutional and legal foundations that would organize this phase, recommending that the transition government suspend the 2012 constitution and return to the 1950 constitution, and issue a constitutional declaration defining the form of the transitional government, its privileges and objectives, and election dates.
The participants also recommended that a Constituent Assembly be elected that will be charged with formulating a permanent constitution for the country by a popular vote, not by appointment. The Syrian Expert House also recommended that a popular referendum be conducted on the constitution upon its completion in order to confirm or deny the Syrian people’s support of it.
The second aspect was to put forth a vision for the future political system for Syria. The Political and Administrative Reform Working group agreed that an ideal future government would be based on a hybrid presidential/parliamentary system, whereby the government is formed when one political party gains a parliament majority, and this government would be given executive powers and appoint the President. It would also be subject to the direct control of Parliament, which has the right to hold accountable its members, question its head, and withdraw the vote of confidence from it. The Syrian Expert House believes that this option will encourage raising the standard of political action in Syria, ensure the participation of all political forces in managing the country, and prevent any one party from dominating. This system will also transfer the political differences from the street to inside Parliament, which would ease the tension between the segments of society and put political rivals side by side in one chamber. Furthermore, work must be done to activate the role of party activity and reform the state’s institutions, because the ouster of the regime alone would not guarantee their reform or the ending of the corruption that has spread within them.
For further recommendations, please see the full report Syria Transition Roadmap.
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Ambassador Farouk Taha
Ambassador Farouk Taha, the team leader of this group, holds a diploma from the Diplomatic Academy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation and a master’s of mass media and a Ph.D. in literature from the Lomonosov Moscow State University. He worked at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as associate director of the Administrative and Financial Affairs Department from 1994 to 1997. He was appointed as the Syrian ambassador to the Republic of Yemen from 2002 to 2004. Then he was appointed as a director of the Department of Management and Finance from 2004 to 2006, and he worked as the assistant of the minister of foreign affairs from 2004 to 2007. He was then appointed Syrian ambassador to the republics of Belarus, Lithuania, Estonia, and Latvia. He announced his defection from the Syrian regime on July 27, 2012. He is currently secretary of the Free National Assembly of the Employees of Syrian State Institutions.
Dr. Mohamad Hosam Hafez
Dr. Mohamad Hosam Hafez, the senior researcher for this group, is currently a visiting professor in the College of Law at Qatar University. Previously, he worked as a diplomat and legal adviser for the Syrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs from 1998 to 2012, serving in Damascus, Tehran, London, and Yerevan. He received a B.A. and diplomas in criminal law and public law from the University of Damascus. He completed an L.L.M. in human rights law at the University of Nottingham in 2000. He also earned a Ph.D in international human rights law from the University of Damascus in 2006. He brings with him vast experience in the fields of teaching and research from the University of Nottingham, the University of Damascus, the Fatih Institute, the Syrian Virtual University, and the Syrian Academy for Development.