News

Activists: Syrians Boycott 'Sham' Parliamentary Election

Syrian activists say people in rebellious towns and villages across the country are largely boycotting a government-run parliamentary election that major opposition groups have dismissed as a sham.

The activists say streets were empty and shops were closed in the central town of Hama and other opposition strongholds, as residents observed a general strike to protest Monday's vote.

The election is the latest effort by the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to show that a democratic reform process is underway in the country ruled by his family since the 1970s.

Watch VOA's Elizabeth Arrott's story from Damascus

But, prominent Syrian opposition groups inside and outside the country have called the vote a farce, saying it cannot have any credibility while Assad's forces continue a deadly crackdown on a 14-month opposition uprising.

Syria's Parliamentary Elections

  • 7,195 candidates, including 710 women.
  • 7 new political parties are fielding candidates.
  • Candidates are running for 250 parliamentary seats.
  • The Ba'ath party has been in power for nearly 50 years.
  • Many opposition groups are boycotting the vote.

Syrian state television showed voters casting ballots in the capital, Damascus, and elsewhere for more than 7,000 candidates vying for seats in the 250-member parliament. A coalition led by Assad's Baath party has monopolized the assembly for decades, but a new constitution approved in a February referendum allowed for the creation of new political parties.

The government has said at least seven new parties are competing with the Baath-led National Progressive Front for parliamentary seats, but the exiled opposition Syrian National Council rejected those parties as "creations of the regime." In some centers of the revolt, residents displayed posters of activists killed by government forces, urging people to vote for the "martyrs" rather than the government-sanctioned candidates.  

Some voters in Damascus said they have a duty to vote and others expressed a hope for change.  Opposition SNC spokeswoman Bassma Kodmani said that the Syrian government pressures people to vote in areas under its control by mobilizing security forces to transport them to polling stations.

Syrian government and rebel forces have continued daily attacks on each other despite a U.N.-backed truce agreement that took effect last month. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said government troops killed three people in an ambush in the eastern province of Deir el-Zour on Monday.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

Join the conversation on our social journalism site -
Middle East Voices
. Follow our Middle East reports on
Twitter and discuss them on our Facebook page.
This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Vismaya
May 07, 2012 10:16 AM
The Syrian rebels want Libya repeated in their country.But that bus seems to have left long agao.

by: Sam
May 07, 2012 9:02 AM
A journey of a thousand miles begins with a step not with guns.
At least this is the first, they should ask Aung sang Suu chi for some advise

by: Cha Cha Cohen
May 07, 2012 2:17 AM
Either take part like a brave or get out like a coward! Please do not create drama to kill innocent citizens!! The world is burning in infernos created by the wickeds!!!

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs