News / Middle East

Voter Turnout Low in Syria Municipal Elections Amid Protests

A man casts his vote in Damascus, Syria, December 12, 2011.
A man casts his vote in Damascus, Syria, December 12, 2011.

Despite violence that continues to roil the country, Syria's government is holding local council elections Monday as it downplays anti-government unrest as the work of a small group of foreign-backed terrorists.

In Syria's northern, heavily Kurdish province of Hasaka a crowd chants slogans against local council elections taking place across the country Monday. Witnesses say voter turnout for the elections across the country was light.

Watch Syria video clip:

But Judge Khalaf Azawi, who heads Syria's electoral commission, told journalists that the voting process was a success and that many voters turned out to cast their ballots.

He says the democratic process was positive, thanks to the a electoral law which guarantees that elections take place in a free, democratic, and transparent way. He adds that voter turnout seemed heavy, during his visits to polling stations, showing democracy at work.

But in a suburb of Syria's second largest city of Aleppo, opposition activists crumpled and burned election posters, calling candidates “government lackies.” Parts of Aleppo and many other Syrian towns and cities took part Monday in the second day of an opposition-led general strike.

Voter Turnout Low in Syria Municipal Elections Amid Protests
Voter Turnout Low in Syria Municipal Elections Amid Protests

In a video on an opposition website, a mostly young crowd participated in what appeared to be a mock election in Syria's northern Idlib province. Young men placed paper ballots into a plastic voting box, with slogans of “regime change,” “resignation” of President Assad, and “a new government,” into the box.

Syria's Information Minister, Adnan Mahmoud, said given that the elections took place during the current political conditions, it demonstrated that they were a success.

He stresses that the elections happened on schedule, despite the current events that Syria is living through, showing the resolve of Syrian leaders in moving forward.

Timor Goksel, who teaches at the American University of Beirut, argues that the elections are a step in the right direction, but could be too little, too late.

“Although I can say it's a positive step, it seems to be a bit too late," said Goksel. "These are the sort of moves they could have done at the beginning without taking on the people and making this a regime-change war. Now, whether it will be a beginning step or a remedy, I'm not sure. I'm not sure how effective it will be.”

The government has also scheduled to hold parliament elections in February.

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.

You May Like

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

Secret Service Chief Under Fire for White House Security Breach

Julia Pierson faces tough questions from lawmakers after recent intrusion at White House, says: 'It is clear that our security plan was not executed properly' More

Frustrated, Liberian Students Want Ebola Fight Role

Thousands have volunteered to go to counties, rural villages to talk to people in their language about deadly virus More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihadi
X
Mahi Ramakrishnan
September 30, 2014 2:16 PM
Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid