Vote or Die: polls open in war-torn Syria, Assad clear favourite

June 3, 2014 | By | Reply More

June 03, – Syrians have been called to elect a president in the midst of a three-year civil war. The main domestic opposition is boycotting the ballot, as Bashar al-Assad seeks another seven-year term.

hromedia Vote or Die polls open in war-torn Syria, Assad clear favourite arab uprising3Entire pockets of the population are being intentionally starved to death and denied critical aid. Meanwhile, Assad – despite no opponent in sight.

narguably, Assad has become a mastermind at reinventing ways to kills his own people – systematic starvation, indiscriminate barrel bombings, and continued lower scale chemical weapon attacks – with few damning repercussions from world powers.

Polling stations opened in government-held areas around Syria on Tuesday. The interior ministry said that more than 15 million Syrians were called upon to vote in a ballot dismissed as “illegitimate” by opponents of the government in Damascus. The vote takes place more than three years into a civil war, with activists estimating the death toll at more than 160,000.

Incumbent Bashar al-Assad was considered certain to win what is technically Syria’s first multi-candidate election in more than 50 years. Assad claimed his second seven-year term in 2007 in a one-candidate referendum, winning over 96 percent of the vote.

Two relative unknowns won parliamentary approval to compete in the election. Maher Hajjar and Hassan al-Nouri declared their candidacy for the top post in April. The western-backed Syrian National Coalition is boycotting the vote, with leader Ahmad al-Jarba calling on people to “stay home.”

US Secretary of State John Kerry said last month that Assad’s “staged elections are a farce, they’re an insult, they’re a fraud.” The 11-country Friends of Syria group, which includes Germany, issued a joint statement calling the elections “a parody of democracy.”

Syria’s protracted civil war meant that polling was only possible in areas under government control, including most of the heavily-populated and coastal areas. Parts of the capital Damascus and major city Aleppo are held by rebels, however, and much of northern and eastern Syria is not under government control.

Many voters were invited to participate from neighboring countries like Lebanon and Jordan, after fighting had forced them from their homes.

Assad, 48, succeeded his father Hafez as president in 2000 and is seeking a third seven-year term.

Press journalist for HRO media – Khizer Hayat contributed to this report.

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Category: Arab uprising

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