Syrians Upbeat over New Era

Published June 12th, 2000 - 02:00 GMT

By Nabil Al Mulhem 

Damascus – 


Syrian politicians, economists and parliamentarians have voiced optimism over the new era expectedly under the rule of Bashar Assad, the most likely candidate to succeed his father Hafez Assad, who died on Saturday. 

They told in separate interviews that much hope is pinned on Bashar Assad to introduce reform on all fronts, and adhere to his father’s position as to peace with Israel, that they said should be based on the principle of land for peace. 

Abdul Wahab Ashwani, assistant secretary general of the communist party – a member of the ruling coalition, said that he believes that Bashar Assad will follow in his father’s footsteps, and expressed his party’s view that “Dr. Bashar has the ability to pursue the struggle of his father to safeguard national independence and restore the occupied lands.” 

Echoing the same views that no drastic changes are expected during Bashar Assad’s reign, an opposition figure said the new era will reflect the previous one. 

According to Yousef Faisal, secretary general of the Syrian communist party – politburo, a banned break-away group, said the new era will be a continuation of the outgoing one predicting that the present political institutions will continue their role on the political scene in Syria, “including the National Progressive Front [the umbrella of the political parties ruling the country.]” 

Faisal added, however, that he believed the front will be activated by the addition of new parties to the government coalition. 

He expected “the government make-up to remain the same.” 

Meanwhile, long-sought economic changes are expected to be introduced by the new leader. 

“The forthcoming era will see focus on administrative reform, and anti-corruption measures,” said Nabil Sukkar, executive director of Syrian Economic Bureau. 

He added that Syria was moving ahead toward market economy. 

However, he did not expect investors to be interested in launching projects in Syria. 

He added that foreign investment needs as a prerequisite the necessary infrastructure. 

“We know that new laws will be enacted to pave the way for foreign investment, a policy endorsed by the late president and will be pursued by Dr. Bashar Assad,” said Adnan Dakhakhni, Damascus Chamber of Industry’s secretary. 

Dakhakhni urged for a continuous anti-corruption campaign saying that prosecuting certain figures on corruption charges will not bring an end to the phenomenon. 

MP Ali Bashir Taha said that Bashar Assad is the one “who opened the corruption file and will not close it before the symbols of corruption are eradicated.” 

However, there is no need to rush, said Sameer Mustafa Basha, another member of the People’s Assembly. 

“We look for drastic reforms in Syria, but we should not rush them. Changes in political parties are also expected,” Basha said voicing hope that the Syrian people will feel the change in the future, because the president-to-be is a democratic and civilized man. 

© 2000 Al Bawaba (

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