The government delegation to the Constitutional Committee considered harming it “part of the conspiracy”… and the opposition “committee” said it was divided
The papers and interventions presented in the seventh round of the Constitutional Committee’s meetings in Geneva, the text of which was obtained by Asharq Al-Awsat, revealed that the paper presented by the delegation “named from the government” headed by Ahmed Al-Kosbari on “state symbols” sparked a dispute with the delegation of the opposition “Negotiating Committee” , headed by Hadi al-Bahra, and figures representing civil society, also affiliated with the opposition.
Today (Friday) the seventh round of “constitutionality” ends with the participants submitting proposals and written comments to the office of UN envoy Geir Pedersen, which facilitates discussions between Al-Kuzbari and Al-Bahra for constitutional reforms under Resolution 2254.
The agreement required submitting written proposals on the last day of the tour, which is a shuttle tour from Pedersen to Damascus, Moscow and other capitals, because the delegation “named by the government” rejected this in previous rounds.
Under previous agreements sponsored by Pedersen, each delegation was to submit a written paper on a constitutional principle to the session’s presidency, to be discussed among the participants from the government, opposition and civil society delegations. Considering that the previous round included the start of the government delegation to present its first proposal, the seventh round began with the proposal of the “Commission” opposing the “basics of governance”.
The proposal, which was submitted by Al-Bahra, stated that “the system of government in the state is republican based on the rule of law, respect for human dignity and the will of the people, and a full commitment to building a free, just and solidarity society, and that sovereignty is exercised by the people through the means of voting established in the constitution, allowing them to free expression. The democrat expresses his will to choose who exercises power on his behalf, at the national and local levels, within the framework of political pluralism and the peaceful transfer of power. The paper considered political parties “an expression of political pluralism. Parties are established and they exercise their activities freely within the framework of the laws regulating their work in a manner that does not conflict with the provisions of the Constitution.
After reading the proposal, the government delegation’s interventions focused on clarifying terminology and “focusing on freedom as a principle.” One of them considered that “the text suggests the parties’ monopoly on political action and the lack of space for individuals and independents” and “the lack of freedom without legal controls to exercise it.”
– state identity
Kuzbari chaired the two sessions of the second day (Tuesday); The representatives of civil society coming from Damascus presented a proposal on “the identity of the state,” stating that “Arabism is the identity of a civilized culture governed by historical and geographical belonging, and the common interests and pains of the Arab people, and that the Syrian Arab Republic is part of the Arab world, and the people The Syrian is part of the Arab nation” and that Arabism “is a cultural container that embraces all cultures with their diversity and richness, interacting within its framework, forming the civilization of this country that has contributed to the enrichment of human civilization, and Syria is a democratic state, and the law guarantees political and partisan pluralism that leads political life” and that “the official language She is Arabic.
During the discussions, some participants warned that “Arabism should not dominate the identities of those who are not Arabs, and that recognizing a role for Arabism in the text should not be at the expense of other components’ identities, cultures and languages.” One of the participants said: “The main points of contention in the discussion are between Arabism as the identity of a specific cultural component, versus other components, or identity as an inclusive civilizational project.”
– Country Codes
On the third day, the government delegation headed by al-Kuzbari, in a session headed by al-Bahra, presented its proposal on “state symbols,” and the text: “The symbols of the Syrian Arab Republic represent lofty national and deeply rooted cultural values, and express its history, heritage and unity, and they are all unchangeable…
1 – The flag of the Syrian Arab Republic, which consists of 3 colors; The red, white, and black stars, each with 5 branches, are green. The flag is rectangular, its width is two-thirds of its length, and it consists of 3 rectangles of equal dimensions along the length of the flag, the top in red, the middle in white, and the bottom in black, and the two stars are in the middle of the white rectangle.
2 – “Hama al-Diyar, peace be upon you,” is the national anthem of the Syrian Arab Republic.
3- Arabic is the official language of the Syrian Arab Republic.
4 – The Syrian pound is the currency of the Syrian Arab Republic and the unit of measurement for its currency.
5 – The emblem of the Syrian Arab Republic is an Arab shield on which the national flag of the Syrian Arab Republic is engraved in its colors. The shield embraces an eagle holding in its claws a ribbon on which the “Syrian Arab Republic” is written in Kufic script. At the bottom of the shield are two ears of wheat. The wings are light brown.
In the discussions, extensive debate was raised about the phrase “unmodifiable” at the beginning of the official paper. They also discussed “Which articles in the constitution are immune or not.” Opponents said that “these symbols today are in dispute, and that their inclusion in the constitution would also be rejected by large parts of the people.” Opposite proposals were made about the meanings and sequences of Syrian flags and symbols, with a proposal to “postpone the inclusion of symbols in laws after the adoption of the constitution and the selection of the first elected Syrian parliament in a transparent and fair manner.”
Discussions continued on the evening of the third day (Wednesday), on “state symbols”; Where she gave interventions on the history of national symbols in Syrian constitutions and in Syrian culture, while members of the government delegation said that “violating symbols at this stage not only threatens citizens’ sense of safety, but is also in the interest of the conspiracy based on the country’s unity, which targets symbols to target the homeland.” .
On the other hand, opponents said: “Symbols have often been used to legitimize violence against the people, and that the constitution-writing process must take into account the sensitivities of all parties and their need for basic reassurances in order for the process of reunifying the country, people and land, otherwise the state is threatened with division.”
– public authorities
Yesterday morning (Thursday), Al-Kuzbari and Al-Bahra presented the participants with the work methodology for the last day (Friday). Where all individual members can submit proposals to amend the principles to the Office of the Special Envoy, then the delegation of the “Commission” submitted its proposal on “the work of public authorities”, which stipulated that “the public authorities in the state are organized on the basis of the separation of legislative, executive and judicial powers, and institutions and bodies are exercised The legislative, executive and judicial authorities have their powers within the limits established by the constitution, and in their organization and performance of their tasks, they are subject to the provisions of laws and legislation, in a manner that does not conflict with the provisions of the constitution. It is also committed to respecting and enforcing the fundamental rights and freedoms stipulated in the constitution and international covenants ratified by the Syrian state.
Participants considered “the separation of powers is an abstract philosophical concept” and that “in practical constitutional law there are great overlaps between the authorities.” Interventions were made on the necessity of distinguishing between the executive and legislative branches, between them and the judiciary, and the balance between powers. One participant said: “The discussion got heated up at times, but it remained polite, and at times practical ideas were exchanged.”