Investigations | 27 Oct 2014

In a striking precedent on the Syrian scene, Bahijah Trad is offering herself as a liberal face running for the presidency of the Syrian opposition’s government for the first time. 

Bahijah Trad, one of the founders of the Syrian Democratic Union, offers today a political program predicated on education and the rule of law, as representing the most salient requirements of the current phase. 

She conducted field visits to Idlib and Aleppo, which have witnessed fierce battles and intense bombardment, conducting a referendum on her political program, before presenting it to the General Assembly and discussing it therein. 

In her first press interview, Trad tells Rozana: "Female Syrian opposition figures who preceded me have committed grave errors. They became part of other parties’ political agendas—something that I am hopeful I will be able to avoid at this sensitive stage."

The candidate identifies what she considers the worst thing happening in the Syrian street these days: the increasing levels of despair and frustration—especially among ordinary, everyday people. 

She explains: "There are those who completely lost hope in any political solution. There are women and children strewn in tents on the border, who are yet to see any serious solutions to this enormous human tragedy. The pain is immense, and Syria is on the verge of clinical death. In addition, many civil projects in all the liberated areas are standing still, without being implemented.”

Trad emphasizes that she only decided to run for office after extensive consultations with some Syrian revolutionary political leaders at home and abroad, to develop a government service work program with a vision of safeguarding the interests of the revolution, as she puts it.

On the eve of announcing her candidacy, Trad faced a violent campaign against her proclaimed declaration of steps in the process for its government. 

Candidates for the presidency of the interim government are embroiled in an atmosphere of intense competition, amid the veiled exchange of charges among themselves. Some described the visits to the Syrian interior carried out by Trad as nothing more than a publicity stunt, among others, to ensure all the regional and international support necessary to win. Meanwhile offstage support for another candidate is being mustered. 

This comes on the heels of Trad receiving an invitation from the American political leadership, to visit the United States early next month. She will be touring decision-makers to put through her political program and future vision, as the first Syrian candidate to ever receive such an invitation.

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