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Russian Proposal for a New Syrian Constitution Revealed

Russians propose a democratic, secular, decentralized and civic state

During peace talks in Astana Russians presented the Syrians gathered there from the government and rebel side of the conflict with their proposal for a new Syrian constitution.

Russians were quick to explain it is not their desire to impose their document on anyone but that the draft reflects their understanding of what the middle ground between the warring sides could be after taking into account all of their main concerns and grievances.

In any case the draft penned by Russians presupposes a number of very visible reforms.

Kurds would get an autonomous zone in the north where Kurdish would be co-official with Arabic..

The name of the country itself would no longer be the Arab Syrian Republic but merely the Syrian Republic. This would go some way towards appeasing the Kurds and might be appreciated by Turkmen, Assyrians and Armenians as well.

President is democratically elected for a maximum of two 7 year terms. In other words the rebels would have to wait quite a bit for Assad to be gone, but he would be eventually. Or they can unseat him right away if they have the popular backing. 

Truth be told this is not different from the 2012 constitution that is currently in force.

The Russian proposal also strikes out the current provision of the Constitution that the president has to be a Muslim. This might be appreciated by Syria's Christians but is really cosmetics since a Christian president under a democratic system is unlikely anyway. It fits well with the more civic feel of the Russian proposal.

The Russian proposal also strikes out the provision that Islamic jurisprudence is a source of legislation. This means that actually the Russians are proposing an even more secular state so it's easy to see why rebel representatives rejected it outright. On the other hand they also envision a much more decentralized state with more limited presidential powers which is not going to thrill the present government.

Perhaps the one party which be least likely to welcome this proposal is the one faction that (as Turks demanded) was not invited to the peace talks in Astana, that is the Syrian Kurds.

Incidentally Turks are claiming they are not aware of any Russian-proposed constitution. Apparently perhaps that is easier than having to explain to their public why their Russians partners are envisioning Kurdish autonomy in Syria.

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