Politics & Economics

Obstacles to the formation of a constitutional committee in Syria

Syria

The proposed committee whose role is to draft the new constitution of Syria is said to consist of 150 people: 50 selected by the Syrian regime, 50 selected by the opposition, and 50 selected by the United Nations from representatives of civil society.

Despite multiple attempts by the United Nations (UN) to form a committee to write a new constitution for Syria, refusals by the Syrian Government have delayed the initial step. Earlier this year, the UN Special Envoy for Syria, Staffan De Mistura, who is tasked with setting up the committee to rewrite the Syrian constitution, announced that the proposed committee will consist of 150 members, 50 selected by Damascus, 50 selected by the Syrian Opposition, and 50 civil society members selected by the UN.

Despite months of negotiations, De Mistura has not been successful in convincing the Syrian Government to allow such a deal to take place due to fears from the Syrian Government that the sovereignty of the country will be breached.

“Based on the rule that the Constitution and everything related to it is purely sovereign and is decided by the Syrians themselves, we cannot accept any idea that constitutes an interference with the Syrian internal affairs or anything that may lead to this,” said Bashar al-Jaffari, Syria’s permanent representative to the UN.

Although the leaders of Russia, Iran, and Turkey agreed on the forming of this committee with the UN during the Sochi Peace Conference in Russia last January, UN Envoy De Mistura said that if the Syrian sides do not come to an agreement on allowing the UN to pick the third group, the UN will abandon the efforts of forming the committee.

“This third intermediate list cannot only be used as a tool for political representatives, especially prominent political leaders, whether in government or opposition,” said De Mistura. “Civil society and the Syrian people deserve a vote in a process that will determine their future.”

De Mistura’s announcement, which was made on Monday, is a final push by the UN to have the committee approved so that they can convene for their first session on 31st of December.

Despite the approval of a number of countries allied to Syria, the Syrian government has thus far made no effort to accept the formation of the constitutional committee, making the drafting of a new constitution impossible for now.