Activist preacher Moaz al-Khatib was elected as the first leader of a new Syrian opposition umbrella group that hopes to win international recognition and prepare for a post-Assad Syria, in a poll counted before reporters on Sunday.
Veteran opposition figure Riad Seif, who proposed the U.S.-backed initiative to set up an umbrella group of opposition groups inside and outside Syria, was elected as deputy president along with Suhair al-Atassi, a well-known female activist.
Opposition figures had struggled for days in Doha to find unity, under heavy pressure from U.S. diplomats and officials from Qatar, which has bankrolled much Syrian opposition activity since an uprising began last year.
Khatib, a former imam at the famous Umayyad mosque in Damascus, was imprisoned several times for criticising Assad’s rule before he left Syria for Cairo this year. Delegates said he had been the only candidate for the post of president.