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

Captured IS Militants Explain Why They Fought

Fighters from Turkey, Syria tell VOA Kurdish Service what drew them to extremism, jihad More

Security Experts Split on Kenyan Barrier Wall

Experts divided on whether initiative aiming to keep out al-Shabab militants is long-awaited solution or misguided effort More

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Officials say they hope to turn Manila into the next Macau, which has long been Asia’s gambling hub 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.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More