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

    New EU Asylum Rules Could Boost Rightists

    New regulations will seek to correct EU failures in dealing with migrant crisis, most notably inability to get member states to absorb a total of 160,000 refugees

    More Political Turmoil Likely in Iraq as Iran Waits in the Wings

    Analysts warn that Tehran, even though it may not be engineering the Sadrist protests in Baghdad, is seeking to leverage its influence on its neighbor

    Forced Anal Testing Case to Appear Before Kenya Court

    Men challenge use of anal examinations to ‘prove homosexuality’; practice accomplishes nothing except to humiliate those subjected to them, according to Human Rights Watch

    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.
    Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Rulingi
    X
    May 03, 2016 5:16 PM
    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Ruling

    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Painting Captures President Lincoln Assassination Aftermath

    A newly restored painting captures the moments following President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination in 1865. It was recently unveiled at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, where America’s 16th president was shot. It is the only known painting by an eyewitness that captures the horror of that fateful night. VOA’s Julie Taboh tells us more about the painting and what it took to restore it to its original condition.
    Video

    Video Elephant Summit Results in $5M in Pledges, Presidential Support

    Attended and supported by three African presidents, a three-day anti-poaching summit has concluded in Kenya, resulting in $5 million in pledges and a united message to the world that elephants are worth more alive than dead. The summit culminated at the Nairobi National Park with the largest ivory burn in history. VOA’s Jill Craig attended the summit and has this report about the outcomes.
    Video

    Video Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroad

    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Ethiopia’s Drought Takes Toll on Children

    Ethiopia is dealing with its worst drought in decades, thanks to El Nino weather patterns. An estimated 10 million people urgently need food aid. Six million of them are children, whose development may be compromised without sufficient help, Marthe van der Wolf reports for VOA from the Metahara district.
    Video

    Video Little Havana - a Slice of Cuban Culture in Florida

    Hispanic culture permeates everything in Miami’s Little Havana area: elderly men playing dominoes as they discuss politics, cigar rollers deep at work, or Cuban exiles talking with presidential candidates at a Cuban coffee window. With the recent rapprochement between Cuba and United States, one can only expect stronger ties between South Florida and Cuba.
    Video

    Video California Republicans Weigh Presidential Choices Amid Protests

    Republican presidential candidates have been wooing local party leaders in California, a state that could be decisive in selecting the party's nominee for U.S. president. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports delegates to the California party convention have been evaluating choices, while front-runner Donald Trump drew hundreds of raucous protesters Friday.
    Video

    Video Kurdish Football Team Helps War-Torn City Cope

    With the conflict still raging across much of Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, between the rebel PKK and the Turkish state, many Kurds are trying to escape the turmoil by focusing on the success of their football team Amedspor in Diyarbakir. The club is increasingly becoming a symbol for Kurds, not only in Diyarbakir but beyond. Dorian Jones reports from southeast Turkey.
    Video

    Video ‘The Lights of Africa’ - Through the Eyes of 54 Artists

    An exhibition bringing together the work of 54 African artists, one from each country, is touring the continent after debuting at COP21 in Paris. Called "Lumières d'Afrique," the show centers on access to electricity and, more figuratively, ideas that enlighten. Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, the exhibition's first stop.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora