Syrian Constitutional Committee kicks off second day of works
The Syrian Constitutional Committee -- made up of members of the opposition, civil society, and regime -- began its second day of work on Oct. 31 in Geneva with talks on a constitutional roadmap.
The committee is mandated, within the context of a UN-facilitated Geneva process, to prepare and draft constitutional reforms paving the way for a political settlement in Syria, to be held to popular approval.
Special UN Envoy for Syria Geir Pedersen, together with Constitutional Committee co-chairs Ahmad Kuzbari from the Syrian regime and Hadi Albahra from the opposition, chaired the meeting after the previous' day's opening ceremony attended by its 150 members.
"This is a historic moment, because for the first time, 50 nominees of the government and 50 nominees of the opposition are sitting face-to-face -- but also two co-chairs side-by-side [...] a chance for something new for Syria," Pedersen, who will chair the talks, said on Oct. 30 at the committee's launch.
While saying their meeting is a "sign of hope", he said the committee was "duty bound to strive to take on board the views of all your fellow citizens."
Oct. 31's talks will involve face-to-face discussions, which will be followed by the designation of a 45-strong body -- 15 from each of the Syrian regime, the opposition and the civil society blocs -- to start work on a new constitution aiming for UN-supervised elections.
The goal is for consensus decisions where possible, and otherwise with a majority of 75%.
Syria has been locked in a vicious civil war since early 2011, when the Bashar al-Assad regime cracked down on pro-democracy protests with unexpected ferocity.
Since then, over 5 million civilians have become refugees. Turkey hosts 3.6 million of them, more than any country in the world.