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ʿAfrin: Democratic Yekîtî re-elects Muhiyuddin Shaykh Ali as Secretary

KURDWATCH, April 25, 2013—From March 30 to April 1, 2013, more than one hundred delegates from at home and abroad took part in the seventh party congress of the Kurdish Democratic Union Party in Syria (Democratic Yekîtî) near ʿAfrin. The party congress was dedicated to Ismaʿil ʿUmar, the founder of the Democratic Yekîtî who died in 2010, as well as to Kamal Hanan and Scherzad ʿAlamdar, two members who were killed during the Syrian revolution. Those gathered confirmed the party’s current political line and pledged themselves to the following principles:
– Victory of the revolution, of freedom, and of dignity; for a free, democratic, pluralistic, and decentralized Syria;
– Protection of Kurdish unity and of peace within the population;
– Strengthening of the role of the party in all areas;
– The freedom of women is the foundation of societal progress.
Muhiyuddin Shaykh Ali was re-elected Secretary, and Mustafa Maschayikh was elected as his deputy. A politburo comprised of nine people and a ten-member steering committee were also elected. For the first time, a woman, Fasla Yusuf, made it into the politburo. The position of chairman, which has been empty since Ismaʿil ʿUmar’s death in 2010, was not filled. Ahmad Chato, a newly elected member of the politburo, told KurdWatch »A few weeks before the party congress, we formed a legal preparatory committee. Among other things, the committee recommended that we eliminate the position of chairman. No one should hold this position after Ismaʿil ʿUmar. The recommendation was accepted.« Originally the »dual leadership« of chairman and secretary was created to prevent the two wings of the party from splitting: Both al‑Qamischli/Jazirah wing under Ismaʿil ʿUmar and the ʿAfrin wing under Muhiyuddin Shaykh Ali were allowed to fill one of the positions and in this way could claim to lead the party. After ʿUmar’s death, his post remained vacant, as it was feared that filling it could lead to conflicts or a even a fracturing of the party. Ali, who was a member of legal preparatory committee for the party congress, is now being accused of trying to disempower the al‑Qamishli/Jazirah wing of the party by eliminating the position of chairman and through his own re-election. According to these accusations, his re-election only came about because the party congress took place in ʿAfrin; he supposedly has fewer supporters than the al‑Qamishli/Jazirah wing. In addition, the al‑Qamishli/Jazirah wing is accusing him of cooperating with the regime for years and in effect implementing the policies of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) since the revolution.


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