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

    Hope Remains for Rio Olympic Games, Despite Woes

    Facing a host of problems, Rio prepares for holding the games but experts say some risks, like Zika, may not be as grave as initially thought

    IS Use of Social Media to Recruit, Radicalize Still a Top Threat to US

    Despite military gains against IS in Iraq and Syria, their internet propaganda still commands an audience; US officials see 'the most complex challenge that the federal government and industry face'

    ‘Time Is Now’ to Save Africa’s Animals From Poachers, Activist Says

    During Zimbabwe visit, African Wildlife Foundation President Kaddu Sebunya says poaching hurts Africa as slave trade once did

    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.
    Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolatei
    X
    July 29, 2016 4:02 PM
    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolate

    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Tesla Opens Battery-Producing Gigafactory

    Two years after starting to produce electric cars, U.S. car maker Tesla Motors has opened the first part of its huge battery manufacturing plant, which will eventually cover more than a square kilometer. Situated close to Reno, Nevada, the so-called Gigafactory will eventually produce more lithium-ion batteries than were made worldwide in 2013. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Polio-affected Afghan Student Fulfilling Her Dreams in America

    Afghanistan is one of only two countries in the world where children still get infected by polio. The other is Pakistan. Mahbooba Akhtarzada who is from Afghanistan, was disabled by polio, but has managed to overcome the obstacles caused by this crippling disease. VOA's Zheela Nasari caught up with Akhtarzada and brings us this report narrated by Bronwyn Benito.
    Video

    Video Hillary Clinton Promises to Build a 'Better Tomorrow'

    Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton urged voters Thursday not to give in to the politics of fear. She vowed to unite the country and move it forward if elected in November. Clinton formally accepted the Democratic Party's nomination at its national convention in Philadelphia. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more.
    Video

    Video Trump Tones Down Praise for Russia

    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is toning down his compliments for Russia and Vladimir Putin as such rhetoric got him in trouble recently. After calling on Russia to find 30.000 missing emails from rival Hillary Clinton, Trump told reporters he doesn't know Putin and never called him a great leader, just one who's better than President Barack Obama. Putin has welcomed Trump's overtures, but, as Zlatica Hoke reports, ordinary Russians say they are not putting much faith in Trump.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora