News / Middle East

Syrians Vote With Little Contest Expected for Assad

Syrians Vote With Little Contest Expected for Assadi
X
Elizabeth Arrott
June 03, 2014 1:21 PM
Syria is holding presidential elections Tuesday, despite a civil war that has left millions of Syrians unable or unwilling to vote. VOA’s Elizabeth Arrott has more from our Middle East bureau in Cairo.
Syrians Vote With Little Contest Expected for Assad
Elizabeth Arrott
Syria is holding presidential elections Tuesday, despite a deadly civil war that has left millions of Syrians unable or unwilling to vote.

Voters in areas controlled by Syria’s government went to the polls Tuesday, in an election set to give President Bashar al-Assad his third seven-year term.

Syria's Prime Minister Wael al-Halqi urged people to vote, calling Tuesday a "historic day" for Syria that he said will put the country on the path to recovery.
 
Little-known candidates

Assad is up against two little-known, government-approved candidates with virtually no chance of success. One, former minister Hassan al-Nouri, made his role in the process clear.
 
"I am not an enemy of any of the two candidates. I consider myself a friend and a friend does not mean to compete. This is an honest contest for the sake of the country," al-Nouri said.
 
Syria's Presidential Election
 
  • First multicandidate presidential election in decades
  • Bashar al-Assad is running for a third term
  • Two other candidates: Maher Hajjar and Hassan al-Nouri
  • 15 million people are eligible to vote
  • Voting is only taking place in areas under government control
  • More than 9,000 polling stations are set up
  • Some stations have pins so voters can prick their fingers to mark ballots in blood
  • Opposition has rejected the election
With a civil war raging and calls by opposition forces and the United Nations not to hold the vote, no balloting took place in rebel-controlled areas.
 
Yet Syrian officials continued to describe the vote as a step toward stabilizing the nation.

Information Minister Omran al-Zoabi said, "The big majority of Syrians feel that this aggressive crisis should end and they must get out of what happened and that what was happening should not continue. The majority of Syrians are convinced that the key to the end of the crisis will be the presidential elections"

The opposition sees the crisis ending with Assad’s ouster. But what started as a peaceful Arab Spring uprising has turned into the government’s violent suppression of an increasingly sectarian, jihadist and international proxy war.
 
Elections or not, few expect the battle to end soon.

Ongoing war

Rebel fighters have battled for more than three years to oust Assad from office. 
 
He has been in power since 2000, when he became president following the death of his father. He was the only candidate on the ballot when he won his second term in 2007.
 
His forces carried out a crackdown against peaceful anti-government protests in March 2011, which came along with the wave of so-called Arab Spring demonstrations that were sweeping the region.
 
The fighting escalated into a war that activists say has killed more than 160,000 people. The United Nations says 2.8 million Syrians have fled to neighboring countries to escape the conflict, while 6.5 million others are displaced within Syria.
 
International efforts to resolve the conflict, including a face-to-face peace conference earlier this year, have yielded little result.
 
  • A Syrian soldier sits under the portrait of President Bashar al-Assad at a polling station in Damascus, June 3, 2014.
  • Women cast their votes in presidential elections at a polling station in Aleppo, Syira, June 3, 2014.
  • Syria's presidential candidate Hassan al-Nouri accompanied by his wife Hazar casts his vote at polling centrer in Damascus, June 3, 2014.
  • A picture from the official Facebook page of Syria's first lady Asma al-Assad shows Syrian President Bashar al-Assad watching on as Asma casts her vote at a polling station in Maliki, Damascus, May 3, 2014.
  • A man holds a portrait of President Bashar al-Assad and a national flag at a polling station in Damascus, June 3, 2014.
  • A man votes for Syria's President Bashar al-Assad on a ballot stamped with his blood, during the presidential election in Damascus, June 3, 2014.
  • A traffic police officer rests in front of a building with posters of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Damascus, June 3, 2014.

You May Like

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Obesity Poses Complex Problem

Professor warns of obesity’s worldwide health impact More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Anonymous
June 03, 2014 3:28 PM
Everyone must remember that just because assad has imposed himself in an election against the will of the Syrian people, he most definitely has committed horrendous crimes across the nation of Syria. He is still a felon whether he tries to re-implament himself or not, his crimes are not going to disappear ever, his crimes are a part of Syrian history. He has killed more unarmed civilians than anyone in Syria. Human Rights violations across the board.

by: Sunny Enwerem from: Lagos Nigeria
June 03, 2014 7:08 AM
No power on earth is forever, if the West refuses to act to save true democracy and freedom TIME will and HISTORY will record.

by: Leroy Padmore from: Jersey City
June 03, 2014 4:36 AM
This is a pure disgrace to democracy and a slap in the IC face. The Assad administration has sent a clear message to the U.S, EU and the UK, they are saying we don't care what anybody say, we are not going nowhere. In light, they are saying we will do whatsoever we want. How can you have an election when most part of the country is destabilized? The opposition can denounce the election, is it sufficient?No. cuz Assad had declared himself winner already. And with this in mind, what else can the opposition do to stop the Assad region? We don't condone violence, it is not our style, the true of the matter is Assad is still in power. It is a slap to the opposition. Assad is a criminal, and he should be brought to justice. we cannot just watch and watch this administration this time declared themselves winner.
In Response

by: Anonymous
June 03, 2014 3:30 PM
It is not considered democracy when a so called "leader" drops bombs on the civilians he is representing, this is a "Crime". Depriving civilians from medical help, food, and water is also a crime against humanity, as is murdering thousands of civilians. His crimes are all documented and not going to be erased.
In Response

by: ali baba from: new york
June 03, 2014 7:55 AM
Bashar el Assad is the best person to Syria. he is an excellent president. Assad is not to be blamed for the civil war. the radical Muslim and Muslim brotherhood whom initiated the war. the country was so peaceful then these criminal come from all over the world . they called them jihadist . Jihadist destroy the country. they are targeting Christian and burnt churches.
I support Assad for his courage to fight these criminal. God bless him
In Response

by: James from: England
June 03, 2014 6:36 AM
Yes, Assad is a bad dictator that wont let us exploit his nation's resources. If only he was a democratic leader like Augusto Pinochet, then we could have backed him to the hilt.
In Response

by: Not American from: Not America
June 03, 2014 6:34 AM
To be fair, no matter how much they try, they cant insult and disgrace democracy as much the United States has.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam Wari
X
Katherine Gypson
May 25, 2015 1:32 AM
For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.

VOA Blogs