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Qatar-backed Syrian opposition PM Tohme re-elected

The feuds between Qatar and Saudi Arabia have long undermined the Ankara-based Syrian opposition
Ahmad Tohme was ousted in July after 10 months (AFP)

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 re-elected to the post from which he was dismissed in July after just 10 months in the job.

During the power struggle for the post, Tohme was replaced by a little-known businessman, Hadi al-Bahra.

Tohme, considered close to the Muslim Brotherhood, was appointed ten months ago to head the government designed to operate as an alternative administration in rebel-held Syria. But in June, just days before he was replaced as head of the Coalition, Saudi-backed Ahmad Jarba sought to rally a vote of no confidence in Tohme's government, also annulling a decision to sack the group's military wing, the Supreme Military Council over graft[SR1]  claims.  - See more at:

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 re-election 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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