Home » News » Al Assad reelected president of Syria in elections considered “neither free nor fair” by the West | International

Al Assad reelected president of Syria in elections considered “neither free nor fair” by the West | International

Bashar al Assad was re-elected, without surprise, President of Syria for a fourth term, in an election held in a country ravaged by the bloody war, despite accusations from the West that the elections were “neither free nor fair.”

During an evening press conference, the Speaker of Parliament, Hammud Sabbagha, announced that Bashar al Assad had been re-elected with 95.1% of the vote.

According to Sabbagha, 14.2 million people went to the polls, out of the 18.1 million theoretically summoned to vote, which implies a participation rate of 76.64%.

Propelled to power in the year 2000, Asad replaced his father Hafez, who died after 30 years in power with an iron fist. On Tuesday, he criticized Western countries, starting with the United States and European countries, which considered that the elections were not free.

In 2014, he obtained more than 88% of the votes, according to official results.

Even before the results were announced, when the scrutiny was about to end, tens of thousands of Syrians took to the streets of various cities in the country.

In the western coastal town of Tartus, crowds waved flags and carried portraits of Bashar al Assad, while others danced and drummed, according to images broadcast on Syrian television.

Thousands of people also gathered in Latakia, also by the sea, and in the capital, Damascus.

In Sweida, in the south of the country, a crowd gathered in front of the governor’s headquarters and in Aleppo several men set up a platform.

Gigantic needs

This is the second presidential since a war began in 2011 in which many belligerents and foreign powers participate. Begun with the repression of pro-democracy protests in the framework of the Arab Spring, the conflict has left more than 388,000 dead and has driven millions of Syrians into exile.

According to the records, the country officially has just under 18 million voters. But with the fragmentation of the country by war and the exile of millions of people, the number of voters is actually lower.

In a country with a shattered economy and dilapidated infrastructure, Bashar al-Assad presented himself as the man of reconstruction, having chained military battles with the support of Russia and Iran, his faithful allies, and having recovered two-thirds of the territory.

In a Syria polarized by war, the autonomous Kurdish regions of the northeast will ignore the elections, as will the last jihadist and rebel stronghold of Idlib (northwest), where some three million people live.

In front of Assad, two personalities considered as puppets appeared: the former minister and parliamentarian Abdallah Sallum Abdallah and a member of the opposition tolerated by the power, Mahmud Marei.

According to the President of Parliament, they obtained respectively 1.5% and 3.3% of the votes.

The electoral law requires that candidates have lived in Syria for ten consecutive years before the elections, so the very weakened opposition figures in exile were de facto excluded. His main coalition denounced that the elections were a “farce.”

“Their opinions are worth nothing,” Al Asad launched this week, referring to Western countries, which had considered that elections were “neither free nor fair.”

The elections took place in the midst of an economic morass, with a historical depreciation of the currency, galloping inflation and more than 80% of the population living in poverty, according to the United Nations.

Syria, like Assad himself, is subject to international sanctions. And the needs for reconstruction are gigantic.

A recent report by the NGO World Vision puts the economic cost of the war at more than 1.2 trillion dollars (a little more than 1 trillion euros).

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