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Al-Qamishli: PYD publishes »Social Contract for Western Kurdistan«

KurdWatch, August 1, 2013—On July 18, 2013, the website Rihab News published the draft of a constitution formulated by the Democratic Union Party (PYD), the »Social Contract for Western Kurdistan«. Although Article 3 emphasizes that Syria is to be considered an entirely independent state and the autonomous regions (»Western Kurdistan«) are geographically and administratively an integrated component thereof, the sovereign powers granted to the autonomous region are more reminiscent of statehood than of self-administration inside the Syrian state. For example, a total of twenty-one ministries are planned, including the ministries of Justice, Interior, and Defense—only the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is missing. The relationship between the central power and the autonomous region is in no way specified; the respective responsibilities and spheres of authority remain entirely unclear. Syrian law is applicable pursuant to Article 58 only when it does not contradict the submitted constitution. It also remains unclear exactly which regions are to be included in the autonomous region. As one activist told KurdWatch, the release of the paper shortly after the attacks in ʿAmudah [further information] suggests that »by drawing on Kurdish nationalist pipe dreams, lost sympathy within the Kurdish population is to be regained«. That ʿAmr Ose, a representative in the Syrian Parliament and secretary for the regime-affiliated »National Initiative for the Syrian Kurds«, denied in the newspaper al‑Watan that the PYD plans to splitt off the Kurdish regions, and explained that the proposals »for the establishment of a temporary administration did not extend beyond the end of the crisis«, further suggests that the Syrian government had a part to play in the proposal. According to Article 56, after the constitution has been recognized by the Supreme Kurdish Committee, a vote on the constitution should be held within a general referendum. Pursuant to Article 59, elections for the first parliament are to be held within sixty days of the adoption of the constitution. The draft of the constitution directly contradicts the position which PYD‑chairman Salih Muslim Muhammad expressed to KurdWatch in November 2011, namely that the PYD rejects such classical concepts as »federalism, confederalism, self-government, and autonomy« [further information].


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