Thursday, May 17, 2012

Ghalioun wants to step down as SNC-leader amid growing sign of disunity

The head of Syria's main opposition alliance, the Syrian National Council, has said he will resign amid growing criticism and rifts within the group. Burhan Ghalioun, who was re-elected as SNC leader on Tuesday, said he would step down once a replacement is found.
The move comes as a key activist group said it may leave the SNC over what it called errors and a lack of consensus. The Local Coordination Committees (LCC), threatened to suspend its membership in the Syrian National Council if its concerns are not addressed."We have seen nothing in the past months except political incompetence in the SNC and a total lack of consensus between its vision and that of the revolutionaries," the LCC statement said.
Several prominent dissidents have already quit the SNC, calling it an "autocratic" organization. In Thursday's statement, the LCC -- a network of activists based both inside and outside of Syria -- accused the SNC leadership of marginalizing council members and acting alone on major decisions.
The LCC said the council has "drifted away from the spirit of the Syrian revolution in its quest for a civil and democratic state based on the principles of transparency and transfer of power."

In a rare acknowledgment of shortcomings,Bassma Kodmani, a Paris-based senior figure in the council, said over the telephone Thursday that the LCC concerns were "justified and legitimate." She acknowledged this week's opposition meeting in Rome during which Burhan Ghalioun was re-elected for a third, three-month term as head of the SNC, was marred by the absence of several members and should have been better prepared and organized. She did not elaborate.
A conference sponsored by the Arab League in Cairo to help unite the disparate opposition was canceled this week, largely because of infighting between various groups.

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