Syrian opposition meets to choose PM for interim government


Suheir Attasi (L) Syrian opposition's National Coalition chief Ahmed Moaz al-Khatib (CL) and Mostafa Sabbah (CR) and George Sebra (R) attend Syria's opposition coalition meeting on March 18, 2013 in Istanbul to choose their first prime minister, tasked with running daily life in large swathes of territory freed from regime control but mired in chaos and poverty.



The Syrian National Coalition, the country's main opposition group, met in Istanbul on Monday to try and form an interim government as well as elect a prime minister.

The prime minister is expected to be chosen by Tuesday.

The interim government would provide services to Syrians living in rebel-controlled parts of the country, the Associated Press reported.

The coalition has tried twice before to form an interim government, ending in failure.

"Nobody can guarantee that there will be a vote in today and tomorrow's meeting, but there is a big chance it will happen," Coalition member Samir Nashar told Agence France-Presse.

The race for prime minister is led by a former Syrian agriculture minister, an economist and a communications executive, according to the French news agency.

"There are more than 10 million Syrians in liberated territories who need education and health services," Coalition spokesman Walid al-Bunni told AFP.

Though the SNC is formally recognized by dozens of countries and organizations, some believe that an interim government led by rebels would make dialogue with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government less likely.

The opposition Local Coordination Committees said 53 people were killed in Syria on Monday, according to the Guardian.

The United Nations estimates that at least 70,000 people have been killed in the 2-year-old civil war and more than 1 million Syrians have become refugees.

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