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Syrian opposition elects moderate Islamist Ahmad Tumeh as PM

Source: Reuters - Sat, 14 Sep 2013 16:35 GMT
Author: Reuters
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ISTANBUL, Sept 14 (Reuters) - The opposition Syrian National Coalition elected moderate Islamist Ahmad Tumeh as provisional prime minister on Saturday, entrusting him with the difficult task of restoring order to areas no longer controlled by President Bashar al-Assad, coalition members told Reuters.

The coalition hopes that 48-year-old Tumeh will boost the opposition's credibility as Russia and the United States negotiated a deal over Assad's chemical weapons arsenal that could lead to efforts towards a wider settlement of the two-and-a-half year conflict.

Tumeh, a former political prisoner from the eastern province of Deir al-Zor, got 75 votes out of 97 cast in a coalition ballot in Istanbul, the sources said.

He is expected to choose a cabinet of 13 ministers in a deal reached after two days of talks between power brokers in the Arab and Western-backed coalition.

"The priority of my government will be to restore stability in the liberated areas, improve their living conditions and provide security," Tumeh told Reuters after he was elected.

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