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Syrians Go To Polls in Presidential Election Seen as Sham
Syrian Presdient Bashar Assad during a November 2017 visit to Russia. (Office of the President of Russia via Wikimedia Commons)

Syrians Go To Polls in Presidential Election Seen as Sham

Syrians headed to the polls on Wednesday to vote in presidential elections. It is the second presidential election to take place during the country’s decade-long civil war.

Current President Bashar Assad is expected to win a fourth term in an election that has been called fraudulent and a rubber-stamp of his rule. Assad came to power in 2000 after the death of his father Hafez, who was president of Syria for 30 years.

The other two candidates in the election are former deputy cabinet minister Abdallah Saloum Abdallah, and Mahmoud Ahmed Marei, head of the Syrian Democratic Front opposition coalition formed in 2016.

Syrians will not vote in Idlib, which is held by Syrian rebels, or in the northeast of the country, which is held by US-backed Kurds.  Syrians living abroad voted at polling places in their embassies and consulates last week. Syria’s Supreme Constitutional Court approved three applications out of 51 who applied as candidates.

United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio, and UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said in a statement issued on Tuesday that the election “will neither be free nor fair.” The statement called for the elections to be held under United Nations supervision and said that “all Syrians should be allowed to participate, including internally displaced Syrians, refugees, and members of the diaspora, in a safe and neutral environment.”

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