The official flag of the Kurdish region in Syria, also known as Rojava. The Kurdish authorities have established their own cantons, and have proposed a draft constitution late December, which notably dropped the Rojava word from the official name of the region, instead proposing a name which they claim will be more inclusive. It calls itself the Democratic Federal System of Northern Syria. Photo: AFP
ASTANA, Kazakhstan— A Russian-proposed draft of the Syrian constitution falls short of mentioning federalism as a system of governance in the war-torn country, but hints at larger cultural and administrative freedoms within a decentralized Syria, according to a draft which was prepared by Russian constitution experts for the Astana talks.
The draft was presented to Syrian peace-makers during the two day meeting in the Kazakh capital which ended Tuesday with so far little tangible achievements.
According to the draft, which Rudaw has seen, the official name of the country will be changed from Syrian Arab Republic to the Syrian Republic with Kurdish as an official language in mainly Kurdish inhabited regions of the country.
The proposed constitution does not see Islamic laws as the “main source of legislation” in the country although Islam will remain one of the sources. There are no religious criteria for the president of the country, who could only be elected to office for one term of 7 years, which means that non-muslim candidates could run for the post and be elected, according to the draft.
The current constitution, from 1964, specifically indicates that only a Muslim could hold the office of presidency.
Russia has in the past shown solid support for a federal system in Syria where Kurds could enjoy their regional sovereignty within a unified country. Russian officials last year openly announced that only federalism could hinder Syria from partition.
But the proposed draft avoids direct mentions of a federal system while suggesting a “decentralized Syria” where regional assemblies, called “people’s societies”, have legislative and administrative powers.
If approved by the rivalling parties, the draft will be put to a referendum no later than a year followed by elections.
The Kurdish ruling factions which were mainly absent from the Astana talks, have so far not commented on the draft.