Exclusive interview | Syrian presidential candidate: Mahmoud Marai says “I’m the candidate of the internal Syrian opposition and I will accept the results of the election”
Syrian presidential candidate, Mahmoud Marai: I’m a candidate of the internal Syrian opposition and here are my campaign goals.
Syrian presidential candidate, Mahmoud Marai: I don’t respond to some accusations that deem the elections as a pre-decided results process.
Mahmoud Marai: I will accept the results of the ballot box after voting of free Syrians.
Some Syrian opposition members see that applying for the presidency candidacy by the opposition will somehow legitimize the regime while other members believe that the regime’s strong security grip will make the winning chance of another candidate, other than Bashar al-Assad, difficult.
The Syrian regime’s Supreme Constitutional Court has announced the approval of three candidates for the presidential elections that are scheduled to run on May 26, including lawyer and opposition prominent figure, Mahmoud Ahmad Marai.
Marai is the first member of the Syrian opposition to run for the presidential elections despite the opposition categorically rejecting the process deeming it doesn’t match the UN resolutions and decisions.
Marai chairs the “Syrian Arab Organization for Human Rights” and he took the post of the Secretary-General of the Democratic Opposition Front after he was the Secretary-General of the Democratic national Work Authority.
In an exclusive interview with SOHR, Marai said, “I will seek, once winning the election, to form a national unity government, that will lead an administrative and political reform process that will help the Syrians to overcome their crisis and to include the opposition participation in addition to accelerating the operation of holding a Syrian-Syrian dialogue that ends the ongoing tragedy and ends the era of occupations.
Question: Despite initial rejection for the elections by some western countries, and despite the criticism against your candidacy, do you consider your decision to run for the elections is an adventure and a responsibility?
Answer: I’m the candidate of the domestic national opposition and I have a national program for 2021 elections that hails the Syrian national sovereignty, unity and independence. I’m against the US, Turkish and Israeli occupations. Meanwhile, I reject the economic sanctions imposed on the Syrian people by Washington and its allies, because such sanctions have harmed and starved the Syrian people in the first place.
My election program stresses the importance of releasing the political and opinion prisoners and accelerating the process of unveiling the destiny of the disappeared and detainees besides honoring the martyrs’ families.
Through my program, I demand to form a national unity government that includes a real and serious presence of the opposition. I will also work on separating the work of authorities and raise the executive authority power over the legislative and the judicial ones.
In my program, I also stressed the importance of launching a Syrian-Syrian dialogue in Damascus with the participation of the political authority in Syria as well as the existing national opposition inside and abroad under international auspices.
I’m planning to draft a modern constitution that will meet the Syrian people’s aspirations, empower women and secure job opportunities for the youth. I want a country that is ruled based on the citizenship and equality pillars, free of discrimination among different people at any level.
Question: Some Syrians in the opposition consider the coming elections as illegal and unconstitutional and they even call for its boycott, what is your opinion about that?
Answer: I reject those calls, and I demand all the people take part in the elections that its results may succeed in changing the difficult situation that the Syrians have experienced for ten years. We need a new social doctrine that will be established on the basis of equal citizenship, multiparty democracy, and the peaceful transfer of power that would be only accomplished via free elections.
By taking part in the elections, we may succeed also to build a new unified country in terms of people and land and fighting the US, Israeli and Turkish occupations that have seized the wealth of the Syrian people.
We have to promote the culture of democracy and elections to fight all shapes of extremism, intolerance and terrorism. We will seek to build a new Syria, start the reconstruction, and lift the unilateral economic sanctions that have exhausted and hungered the Syrians.
Question: What is your opinion regarding those describing al-Assad competitors as shadow opposition or secretive allies?
Answer: I’m a presidential candidate and son of the national opposition with a well-known history with the opposition. I had been also arrested in a political case six years ago, and I was banned from travel for five years and participated in meetings, for reaching a peaceful settlement, in Geneva, Moscow and Cairo.. etc.
I will work to make the Syrian national opposition practice a real role, publicly, either inside or abroad, to be able to contribute to shaping the future policies of the Arab Republic of Syria and in settling the crises that our country has lived for decades.
I belong to the opposition and I have never been loyal to anyone except Syria and the people, and such accusations only foster my willingness to win in favor of the Syrian opposition.
Question: What is your opinion about those describing the elections as a pre-decided results process?
Answer: I don’t want to respond to such accusations, fabrications or doubting campaigns.
I don’t accept having a constitutional or legislative vacuum in Syria. We will work for making Syria a sovereign united country with a future, and that could be only achieved through free, independent elections with the participation of all. We want to restore the country’s resources, like oil, gas, and grains that have been looted by the occupiers who have also deprived the Syrian people of their diversified resources.
We don’t see the elections’ outcome as previously settled. It’s a matter of the Syrian people and their willingness to vote. I have started my election campaign with a clear statement and I made my media campaign via TV, posters and photos, and no one has prevented me from practices my rights as a candidate and I won’t allow anyone to do this. We will be chosen by the people’s will and we will accept what the people accept and choose.
Question: What is your message to the Syrian people, part of whom has expressed desires not to take part in the elections?
Answer: My message for those voices is to take part in the balloting process, so we can together build a new Syria as we aspire….. The election is our hope of change.