News / Middle East

Syria's Assad Wins Presidential Election by Landslide

A handout picture released by the official Facebook page of Syria's First Lady Asma al-Assad shows Syrian President Bashar al-Assad (C) watching on as his wife Asma casts her vote at a polling station in Maliki.
A handout picture released by the official Facebook page of Syria's First Lady Asma al-Assad shows Syrian President Bashar al-Assad (C) watching on as his wife Asma casts her vote at a polling station in Maliki.
Edward Yeranian
As expected, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has won a third seven-year term in office, with a reported 89 percent of the vote. Voting took place Tuesday in parts of Syria controlled by the government, but was boycotted by opposition groups in areas they control. Officials say voter turnout was 73 percent.

But even as Damascus erupted in celebration, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and the European Union sharply criticized the election.  Kerry called the poll "a great big zero,'' saying it can't be considered fair "because you can't have an election where millions of your people don't even have an ability to vote.''

The government has sought to present this vote as a democratic solution to Syria's three-year conflict.

Election observers from several countries, including Syria's allies Iran, Russia and Venezuela, told Syrian TV that voting at polling stations that they monitored appeared to go smoothly. Most of the observers expressed support for the government and President Bashar al-Assad.
 
At a polling station in the coastal government stronghold of Latakiya, an election official told state TV that ballot boxes were still waiting to be counted, but that he expected votes to be tabulated within the next 24 hours. He said voting had been heavy, despite unsettled conditions in the country.

He said that he was struck by the enthusiasm of the many refugees from other parts of Syria who turned out to vote in even stronger numbers than local residents.
 
Al-Arabiya TV, which supports the Syrian opposition, claimed that the government had flown supporters from outside the country to vote and had given money or favors in exchange for a ballot in President Assad's favor. It was impossible, however, for VOA to confirm the claim.

Ala'edin Boroujerdi, who headed an Iranian parliamentary delegation, told a group of visiting legislators that many Syrian expatriates had not been allowed to cast their ballots in certain European and Gulf states. This, he argued, was an “unfair breach of their human rights.”
 
Middle East scholar Nadim Shehadi of Chatham House in London told VOA that while the Western press has been calling the Syrian presidential election a “sham,” many Syrians still living inside the country must feel that it was the West that has perpetrated a sham.

"If you're looking at the elections in Syria from the West, they look like a sham, but if you're looking at the West from Syria, it's Western policy that looks like a sham, because Syrians were expecting that the international community would protect them from Assad and would prevent him from crushing the revolt, so they feel let down,” said Shehadi.
 
Former U.S. ambassador to Syria Robert Ford told U.S. television broadcaster PBS Tuesday that “efforts [the U.S. and other nations] have made to date have not worked... [because] they have not put enough pressure on the Assad regime on the ground.”

That, Ford concluded, is why the regime “balked” at a political settlement during a Geneva peace conference last February.

You May Like

Photogallery US Nurse ‘Cured of Ebola,’ NIH Says

Nina Pham, Texas nurse who treated first Ebola patient in US, received no experimental drugs; WHO expects vaccine surge in 2015 More

Video Islamic State Militants Encroach on Baghdad

Iraqi capital not under ‘imminent threat,’ US military says, amid worries about foothold More

Video Hong Kong Protesters Focus on Holding Volatile Mong Kok

Activists say holding Mong Kok is key to their movement's success, despite confrontations with angry residents and police More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: meanbill from: USA
June 04, 2014 9:55 PM
TRUTH BE TOLD... Assad is a super Syrian patriot, and lives to lead his country through this Syrian war, (or die trying) -- A Syrian war that the US, EU, and NATO and their despotic Arab Saudi king, and despotic Gulf States Monarchy allies, pay, supply, and arm.... (terrorists)...
"God Bless the Syrian people" who are rallying around Assad and coming to the aid of their country.... (outside interference again?)...

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid