Centralization and Decentralization – and Right to Self-determination

Centralization and Decentralization – and Right to Self-determination

Nowadays, there is a high level of focus on discussions related to the form of the future Syria, including the nature of its political system, the relationship between the authorities, the mechanisms for the distribution of powers among them, and between the center and the peripheries, and other issues of a constitutional nature principally.

This focus does not stem from the work of the Constitutional Committee itself, which is still faltering, but rather from the various parties having understood that the achieving the solution has become due and laid on the table for practical implementation, or about to be so.

In this context, and as a continuation of what Kassioun discussed in its previous editorial, we stand here at a point that attracts the most discussions and opinions in the current stage, namely, the issue of the relation between centralization and decentralization.

The first thing that should be confirmed here is that this issue, and other issues related to the form of the future Syria, is an exclusively Syrian issue, and no one from outside has the right to interfere in it, in any way, whether with soft tools or direct hard tools. Such an issue is an essential part of the Syrian people's right to self-determination, and any interference in it is a continuation of the obsolete colonialist mentality, and it is categorically rejected whatever party is the intervening one.

Within the discussion among Syrians, the principle governing the entire process should be the principle of consensus. So that each party presents its convictions, justifying and defending them with arguments and logic, so that the friction of these convictions results in all-embracing convictions and common frames, meeting at a main point, which is the preservation of the unity of Syria both as a land and a people and opening horizons for growth, social justice and democracy.

Our opinion on the issue can be summed up in the following general lines:

First: The federal proposal, although in practical application in countries such as Russia or Switzerland, has proven to be very successful, but it was part of a long evolutionary historical context for those countries. In the Syrian peculiarity, and with the enormous diversity in the Syrian society, and with the debilitating situation of the state and society, federalism would be very harmful to the extent of threatening the country's unity.

Second: propositions that say "self-governing", which are sometimes presented in connection with nationalist minorities, has the main problem of that the nature of people distribution in Syria is a highly overlapping nature, so that pushing in this direction means pushing towards a dangerous reshaping of the composition of the Syrian population that opens the doors to models such as The Yugoslav model. Therefore, we saw that this also has no place in Syria.

Third: Talking about decentralization unilaterally and without specifying the nature of its relation to centralization sometimes expresses a backlash that re-introduces the two concepts above with a new template, while decentralization is required and necessary as the authority of the people in the regions through their elected councils over the entire executive apparatus of the state. There is no way to effectively combat and prevent corruption without this oversight, just as there is no way to open the horizons of growth, development and justice without real and direct authority of the people in the regions that take into account an equitable distribution of resources, opportunities and potentials at the level of the country as a whole.

Parallel to this decentralization, the country needs a strong center that preserves its unity in basic sovereign affairs, and manages the general lines of the major national projects required during the upcoming reconstruction process, all within the framework of the full implementation of UNSC Resolution 2254 by the hands of Syrians and in their interest.

Kassioun Editorial, Issue no. 984, September 21, 2020

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