In Syria, the prime minister is appointed by the president. The prime minister heads the Council of Ministers and answers to the president as they serve as the executive arm of the government. Unlike the presidency, which is limited to a 7-year term, there are no term limits on the position of prime minister. When Syria seceded from the United Arab Republic (UAR) in 1961, Maamun Al-Kuzbari became the first prime minister of the Republic of Syria.
Prime Ministers Of Syria
Maamun Al-Kuzbari (1961)
Maamun was the first prime minister of the Republic of Syria after they broke away from UAR following a coup by Syria in 1961. He was a lawyer by profession but was also a literary personality and had a stint as a professor at Damascus University in 1948. Maamun joined politics in 1953 by becoming an ally to military ruler Adib Shishakli. Besides, Maamun was also the Minister for Defence and Foreign Affairs. His term as a prime minister was short of three months when he resigned on November 20, 1961. His legacy was re-establishing an elected democratic government through free elections. After the December 1961 elections, he remained the speaker until September 12, 1962.
Khalid al-Azm (1963-1963)
Azm served as a prime minister in six different regimes in Syria, mostly before the UAR. He became politically dormant during the period of the union but returned to help draft the secession document when the union was dissolved. He was arrested alongside Nazim al-Kudsi after a March 28, 1962, coup but a counter-coup on April 2 saw them released, and he then became prime minister under Kudsi. When the Ba’ath party came to power in March 1963, both Kudsi and Azm fled to exile. Azm was from a wealthy background born of a prominent political family to an Ottoman minister for religious affairs.
Yusuf Zuayyin (1965)
Zuayyin was a member of the Ba’ath party and served as a prime minister in 1965, and again from 1966 to 1968. He died in Sweden on January 10, 2016, due to a longterm illness.
Mahmoud Zuabi (1987 - 2000)
Zuabi is the longest serving prime minister of Syria, going for 13 years from 1987 to 2000 under President Hafez Assad. When the president started showing signs of ill health, his son Bashar Assad was groomed to succeed him. Both the father and son seemed to be done with Zuabi, and he was replaced as prime minister by Mohammed Mustafa Mero on March 7, 2000. Zuabi’s administration oversaw a shambolic economic system that was only kept going by revenue from oil. He was expelled from the Ba’ath party on May 10, 2000 by Hafez and was to face prosecution over illegal procurement of passenger jets for the Syrian Arab Airlines. The Syrian government also froze his assets. He committed suicide while under house arrest to avoid facing trial.
Imad Khamis (Incumbent)
Khamis began his term as the Syrian prime minister on April 14, 2011. His appointment led to speculation of Russian interference in Syrian affairs as the names of the new ministers had earlier been leaked by Russian state broadcaster Russia Today and the appointments also came shortly after a meeting between Russian defense minister and President Bashar Assad in Syria. Khamis has been placed under sanction by the European Union since March 2012 because he shared responsibility for the government’s repression of its people due to power cuts when he was the Minister for Electricity.
Perception of the Position
Under Bashar, the prime minister has come under harsh criticism for his role in the government’s suppression of protesters in Syria.