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

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said To Be Improving

Experimental drugs have been tried on six people: three Westerners and now, three African pyhysicians More

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities residents rebuild their lives, but many say everyone is being treated with suspicion More

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

Girls learn to object; FGM practitioners face penalties from jail sentences to stiff fines 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.
Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improvingi
X
Carol Pearson
August 19, 2014 11:43 PM
The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.
Video

Video For Obama, Racial Violence is Personal Issue

The racial violence in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson is presenting U.S. President Barack Obama with an issue to which he has a deep personal connection. To many Americans, Obama's election as America's first black president marked a turning point in race relations in the United States, and Obama has made ending the violence a policy priority. On Monday he issued a new call for calm and understanding. Luis Ramirez reports from the White House.
Video

Video Clinton-Obama Relationship Could Impact 2016 Election

President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have a long and complicated relationship. That relationship took another turn recently when Clinton criticized the president’s foreign policy. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports there is renewed attention on the Clinton-Obama relationship as Hillary Clinton considers running for
Video

Video Iran Looks to Maintain Influence in Baghdad With New Shia PM

Washington and Tehran share the goal of stopping Syrian-based militants in Iraq. But experts say it's Iran, not the United States, that will most influence how the new government in Baghdad approaches internal reforms and the war in Syria. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns has the story.

AppleAndroid