SNC to meet to choose new leader

Al-Akhbar is currently going through a transitional phase whereby the English website is available for Archival purposes only. All new content will be published in Arabic on the main website (www.al-akhbar.com).

Al-Akhbar Management

Published Monday, June 4, 2012

The opposition Syrian National Council will meet at the weekend to replace Burhan Ghalioun who resigned as leader of the bloc late last month, SNC officials said on Monday.

The meeting will take place Saturday and Sunday in Istanbul, where a vote might be waived since there is a "consensus" candidate, the sources said on condition of anonymity.

"So far the consensus candidate is Abdel Basset Sayda," a Kurd, and member of the SNC's executive office, one source said, while another confirmed that Sayda could be appointed as the new SNC leader.

Sayda, who lives in exile in Sweden, joined the SNC as an "independent activist," according to his friend and fellow Kurdish militant Massud Akko.

He is member of the SNC's executive bureau and heads the bloc's human rights department.

He was born in 1956 in Amuda, a mostly Kurdish city in the northeastern Syrian province of Hassakeh.

"He is a honest, level-headed and cultured," Akko said.

Ghalioun tendered his resignation on May 17 to avert divisions within the opposition bloc, after activists on the ground accused him of monopolizing power. His resignation was accepted the following week.

He had led the SNC by consensus rather than by election from the bloc's formation in October last year and was elected chairman in a vote held in Rome on May 15.

His detractors also accused him of allowing the Muslim Brotherhood to play a leading role within the SNC.

(AFP, Al-Akhbar)

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