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article imageNew government in Syria, the Shadow Government

By Eko Armunanto     Mar 18, 2013 in World
Syria's opposition has held talks in Istanbul on appointing their first prime minister to lead an interim government inside parts of Syria freed from the control of President Bashar al-Assad’s regime.
The main opposition group in Syria said twelve candidates are running for interim prime minister of a government to rule rebel-controlled areas in Syria, but there is no guarantee the election will take place as scheduled, with the process having been postponed before. The initial plan was, back in April 2012, led by Nofal Al-Dawalibi, the son of a former Syrian prime minister, to form "government in exile" helping Syrian rebels and encourage international military intervention against Assad's forces. After disagreements and delays, the Istanbul conference is set to begin Monday. The vote for prime minister is to be completed by Tuesday, said Khalid Saleh, a Turkey-based opposition spokesman.
Out of the 12 candidates, opposition sources said former agriculture minister Asaad Mustapha, economist Osama Kadi, and communications executive Ghassan Hitto were frontrunners for the vote. The Coalition agrees the premier and his government would have to be based in Syria’s rebel held areas, Khaled al-Saleh, a spokesman for the opposition bloc, told Al Jazeera. "A Skype government is not going to work," he said. "I can say that around 60 out of 73 Coalition members wants a government to be formed," Saleh added. Another Coalition member said there is a push for an interim prime minister who is a technocrat. The 73-member Coalition is expected to hold an initial vote, followed by a run-off between the top two candidates. The winner will then choose a cabinet, which must be approved by the Coalition.
Supporters of an interim government say it could help restore order in rebel-held territories, including the northern city of Raqqa and parts of Aleppo, Syria's largest city. Others have warned that such a move is premature and that an opposition-run government would cement Syria's fragmentation. There is also concern that Islamist militias would not recognize the authority of an interim government. Many of the senior figures in the Syrian National Coalition live in exile, and might have difficulties asserting their authority in Syria.
More than 100 countries have recognized the opposition coalition as the legitimate representative of the Syrian people, including the United States, Britain, France and Turkey. Some opposition figures have criticized the move to pick a prime minister, saying the rebel coalition should instead form an executive body to oversee rebel affairs or agree to a transitional government that includes members of the Syrian government.
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