In Focus |The Fourth Round of the Constitutional Committee: The Constitution has No Place on its Agenda
The fourth round of the discussions of the Constitutional Committee under the auspices of the United Nations were held between November 30 and December 4, 2020. The fifth round is expected to take place in January 2021.
During the fourth round, the committee discussed the issue of national foundations and principles as it had not reached a common formulation concerning these during the third round. The agenda of the fifth round is expected to include a discussion on the principles of the constitution.
The fourth round’s agenda was devoted to discussing the issues of belonging and identity, but the Syrian regime delegation posed other issues namely the sanctions, sovereignty, terrorism and the refugee issue. The opposition delegation also raised other issues such as the social and economic principles governing the country.
These behaviors indicate that the delegations did not adhere to the agenda or did not agree on it in the first place. The Syrian regime tried to include the refugee issue as a national principle, while the opposition insisted it is a constitutional principle. The discussion on the issues of sovereignty and terrorism were conducted similarly.
While the Syrian regime’s efforts appear to be aimed at gaining time and avoiding making major concessions that lead to a fundamental change in the content of the constitution, the Syrian opposition is keen to push the Syrian regime to discuss constitutional issues. The opposition was pushing to discuss the constitution early on, but, in the second round of talks, the Syrian regime insisted on Including national principles in the agenda as a precondition for completing the discussions.
The fourth and fifth rounds of the constitutional talks do not suggest that any substantial progress has been achieved thereby weakening hopes of positive results from the constitutional reform path and indicating that the political process will continue to be blocked for the foreseeable future.
Previous events may constitute a suitable ground to argue for not aligning the streams which means the Syrian opposition’s aim to achieve a separation of the four issues from each other will fail. In contrast, the Syrian regime may find in this situation an opportunity for it to once again call for discussions on the election issue.
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