Syria Kurds set for first polls in ‘federal region’
August 26 2017 11:04 PM
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Hadiya Youssef, co-chair of the Syrian Kurdish federal system’s constituent assembly, speaks during
Hadiya Youssef, co-chair of the Syrian Kurdish federal system’s constituent assembly, speaks during a summit in the northeastern Kurdish-majority Syrian city of Qamishli yesterday at a meeting bringing together Arabs, Syriacs and other parties to lay the groundwork for the first local elections.

AFP/Qamishli, Syria

Syrian Kurdish authorities yesterday began laying the groundwork for the first local elections in the federal system they are establishing in the country’s north, an official told AFP.
Hadiya Youssef, co-chair of the federal system’s constituent assembly, said three rounds of elections would be held starting in September.
“In this phase, we are outlining the electoral process by holding meetings with the local councils and societal stakeholders,” Youssef said on the sidelines of a summit in the Kurdish-majority city of Qamishli.
The meeting brought together Kurdish, Arab, Syriac and other parties to discuss how each of the three electoral phases would be managed.
The first round on September 22, according to Youssef, would see residents vote for representatives on the neighbourhood level.
Elections for executive councils for towns and regions are planned for November 3.
Then, on January 19, they would elect legislative councils for each of the three cantons, as well as a single joint legislative assembly.
“Every region will have its own legislative council, with the prerogative to set laws in the region as long as they do not contradict the social contract,” Youssef said.
Legislative assemblies would have four-year terms, but local delegates and executive councils would have two-year terms.
Taking advantage of the Syrian army’s withdrawal from swathes of northern territory, Kurdish authorities declared three “autonomous” cantons there in 2013.
Last year, leading Kurdish and Arab parties announced they would establish a “federal” system across the cantons, a declaration lambasted by Syria’s regime, the opposition, and local rivals.
Youssef yesterday defended the plan, saying it was not aimed at breaking Syria apart.
“Our federal system is geographic and does not aim to divide Syria,” she told AFP.
“The objections from the regime and opposition parties all say that they do not support Syria’s partition — neither do we.”




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