Syrian interim government Prime Minister Ahmed Tohme in Paris on December 5, 2013
Syrian interim government Prime Minister Ahmed Tohme in Paris on December 5, 2013 © Lionel Bonaventure - AFP/File
Syrian interim government Prime Minister Ahmed Tohme in Paris on December 5, 2013
AFP
Last updated: October 15, 2014

Qatar-backed candidate reelected Syrian opposition PM

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Syria's main opposition National Coalition has reelected Qatar-backed candidate Ahmad Tohme as its prime minister after a standoff between rival rebel backers Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

After five days of meetings in Istanbul, Tohme was reelected to the post, which he was dismissed from in July after just 10 months in the job.

Despite ongoing tensions between rival powerbrokers Qatar and Saudi Arabia, Tohme eventually secured 63 votes from the 65 Coalition members who participated in the vote on Tuesday night, the group said in a statement.

On Monday, a Coalition member had told AFP that there were "strong tensions" and that "the participants could not agree on a new prime minister".

Tohme, who is close to Syria's influential Muslim Brotherhood, headed the coalition for 10 months before being relieved of his duties at one of the bloc's previous general assemblies.

His reelection comes amid continued jostling between Saudi Arabia and Qatar for the role of primary supporter of the Syrian opposition.

Both nations have channelled support to the Syrian uprising, and another member of the Coalition told AFP that Doha was threatening to end its funding if its candidate was not picked.

"Qatar made clear that its financial support to the coalition would end if Tohme was not re-elected," the official told AFP.

Saudi-Qatar tensions have consistently hamstrung the Coalition, which is based in Turkey.

The body has been recognised as the legitimate representative of the Syrian people by countries including Britain and the United States.

But it faces accusations from Syrians on the ground of being ineffective, corrupt and out-of-touch.

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