May 15th 2012
AMMAN: The Syrian National Council opposition group re-elected liberal politician Burhan Ghalioun as president at a meeting in Rome on Tuesday, two sources at the meeting told Reuters.
Ghalioun, a secular academic, has been leader of the opposition in exile since the SNC’s creation in August 2011.
Some fellow activists have criticised him for being out of touch with the opposition inside Syria and for failing to unify the SNC.
But the 67-year-old has the backing of the Gulf States and France, and is seen as a consensus figure in the group, where militants, who are divided into different factions, hold sway.
Aware that he is an acceptable figure to the international community, the militants have supported him.
“Ghalioun was re-elected for another three-month term,” one of the sources told Reuters after a meeting of the council’s general secretariat, which chooses the president every three months. “He won 66 per cent of the vote.”
George Sabra, another liberal who is an ally of Syria’s top dissident Riad al-Turk, came second, the sources said.
Turk, an 81-year-old former leftist who spent 25 years as a political prisoner, operates underground inside Syria. The opposition looks to him for moral guidance.
Originally published by Dawn Pakistan