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Syrian Opposition to Discuss Replacing Hitto as Interim PM–Source - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Ghassan Hitto, the Syrian opposition's newly elected interim prime minister, speaks during a press conference in Istanbul, Turkey. (AP)

Ghassan Hitto, the Syrian opposition’s newly elected interim prime minister, speaks during a press conference in Istanbul, Turkey. (AP)

Cairo, Asharq Al-Awsat—A Syrian opposition source claims that the Syrian National Coalition is set to discuss replacing interim prime minister Ghassan Hitto with an alternative consensus figure at a general meeting to be held later this week.

The Syrian opposition source, speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat on the condition of anonymity, noted that Dr. Ahmad Tohme is the leading candidates to succeed Hitto. Tohme was the secretary-general of the National Council of the 2005 Damascus Declarations and is well-respected among the Syrian opposition.

A second Syrian opposition source, speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat from Turkey, revealed that “the Syrian National Coalition will discuss appointing a new interim government head, to replace Ghassan Hitto.”

“There is no consensus on Hitto,” he added.

The source, who also spoke to Asharq Al-Awsat on the condition of anonymity, noted, “The position of interim prime minister is a sensitive one, and this figure must be agreed on by all forces.”

Despite Hitto’s actions and effectiveness, there was a kind of disagreement on his appointment since the beginning, and the best solution would be to find a compromise figure that satisfies all parties, to heal the rift between the political and revolutionary forces,” he added.

The opposition source said that the Syrian National Coalition is facing two choices, either for Hitto to remain in his position as interim prime minister, despite the division that continues to surround his appointment, or for the Syrian opposition to look for an alternative candidate that enjoys wider support and can therefore form an interim government without any delay.

He added that the latter option “is precisely what the Syrian opposition needs at this difficult time in the Syrian revolution.”

Hitto was appointed as interim prime minister on 18 March after receiving 35 votes out of 48 ballots cast by the opposition Syrian National Coalition’s 63 active members.

As for why the Syrian National Coalition will discuss replacing Hitto as interim prime minister, the source related that this was due to the opposition of some independent opposition figures such as Kamal Al-Labwani and Walid Al-Bunni, among others.

Hitto is in the midst of discussions with revolutionary forces at home on the formation of a small technocrat government.

For his part, Syrian National Coalition envoy to London, Walid Saffour, informed Asharq Al-Awsat that Hitto remains Syria’s interim prime minister, adding that “he is doing his job and waiting for the convention of the general board [of the Syrian National Coalition] to submit his team for accreditation.”

Saffour characterized the claims that the Syrian National Coalition is set to replace Hitto as “rumors”, adding that he does not know who is responsible for this.