Syrian opposition elect new PM
Ahmad Tumeh was elected provisional PM of the SNC on Saturday. Here, members of Syrian National coalition (SNC) attend a meeting of the National Coalition of Syrian Revolution and Opposition forces on September 13, 2013, in Istanbul. (AFP)
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Syria's main opposition bloc, the Syrian National Coalition (SNC), on Saturday elected moderate Islamist Ahmad Tumeh as their provisional prime minister, entrusting him with the tough job of restoring order to the areas across Syria no longer under the control of Syrian President Bashar Assad.
Coalition members told Reuters they hope 48-year Tumeh will boost the credibility of the SNC as the US and Russia negotiate a deal over Assad's chemical weapons stockpiles that could herald an end to the now 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, according to Reuters.
Reuters reported that Tumeh is expected to choose a cabinet of 13 ministers in a deal reached after two days of talks between key figures 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.