News / Middle East

US Calls Syria Election a 'Disgrace'

VOA News
U.S. State Department Spokeswoman Marie Harf described Syria's presidential election Tuesday as "a disgrace," saying President Bashar al-Assad "has no more credibility today that he did yesterday."

"Detached from reality and devoid of political participation, the Assad regime-staged election today continues a 40-year family legacy of violent suppression that brutally crushes political dissent and fails to fulfill Syrians' aspirations for peace and prosperity," said Harf.
Syrians voted in an election that is expected to give Assad a landslide victory for a new seven-year term, as a deadly civil war continues across the country.

Syrian state television showed Assad supporters waving flags and portraits of the president as they waited in long lines to cast their ballots. Voting is only taking place in government-controlled parts of the country.  

The Syrian opposition and its Western allies have denounced the election, which pits Assad against two little-known, government-approved candidates.
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

Syria's prime minister, Wael al-Halqi, said Tuesday's election will put the country on a path to recovery. The Syrian interior ministry said more than 15 million people were eligible to vote.

Opposition Syrian National Council spokesman Khalid Saleh said the results will have no real impact on the future of the Syria.

"Well, Assad still controls the army, still controls intelligence services, still controls to some extent the foreign militias," said Saleh. "So, even if one of those two other candidates wins, they have no way to run anything in the country. Assad has been very clear. He will control this country. He will kill anybody who's in opposition to him. And he will do whatever it takes to remain in power."

Rebel fighters have battled for more than three years to oust Assad from office.  

Violence continued to rage Tuesday on the outskirts of Damascus with rebels firing mortars and government warplanes targeting opposition areas.

Assad has been in power since 2000, when he became president following the death of his father, and 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 across 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

Video In US, Columbus Day Still Generates Controversy

Holiday marks date Columbus discovered Americas, but some are offended by legacy because he enslaved many natives he encountered More

Video Through Sports, Austria Tries to Give Migrants Traction

With 85,000 people expected to claim asylum in Austria this year, its government has made integration through joint physical activities a key objective More

Video Kickboxing Champion Shares Sport With Young Migrants

Pouring into Europe by hundreds of thousands, some migrants, especially youngsters, are finding sports a way to integrate into new host countries More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: Leroy Padmore from: Jersey City
June 04, 2014 3:17 AM
The election in Syria is a complete mockery to democracy, Assad is a disgrace to himself and to society. He is a big embarrassment to the Syrian people. It is time that Assad go.Syria is not his farm. Listen America is the world superpower, she needs to sent a very strong and clear message to Assad. And that massage must come to consequences. It must come with action. Who is Russia to stop America? Nothing, but a piece of bread. Russia is bluffing, because she knows President Obama is a man of peace and diplomacy. But at the same token, The U.S needs to sent Russia a message too. Cuz Russia will not stop her nonsense.The reason why Assad is in power is because of Russia. The world know this is not a free and fair election, the Syrian people are under the barrier of the gun, so for this reason, they will side with Assad. Cuz the people don't want to died any more. The U.S, the U.K and the E.U need to do something about this Syria problem. Enough is enough. How long they will sit and see the people dying?
In Response

by: ali baba from: new york
June 04, 2014 6:56 AM
There is no democracy in middle east. Islam can not get along with democracy. those who claim democracy in middle east are hiding their real agenda . their agenda is destruction and exterminated of Christian. American advice for middle east is always wrong. American politician are always deceived by radical muslim lobby .

by: kathyzjim from: USA
June 03, 2014 7:39 PM
I am sure the Syrian government cares what the US thinks of Syria's election.

by: ali baba from: new york
June 03, 2014 6:49 PM
IF Bashar EL Assad has no credibly, Which one has credibility? The rebel which connected to terrorist organization and invited jihadist from over the world to destroy the country and force people to flee and they are targeting Christian for mass murder. It seems to me that American politician never make sense and ever

by: meanbill from: USA
June 03, 2014 6:12 PM
EVERY DAY the US losses more credibility, giving worthless opinions, name calling, threats of sanctions, embargos, red lines, finger pointing and other silly girly things? -- The world is watching, this new US strategy to combat enemies of America?

by: Sofa Guy from: Virginia
June 03, 2014 5:30 PM
Ah the double standards! Assad's re-election is a "disgrace". At least nothing disgraceful is going on in Egypt......
In Response

by: Lefteris Pavlides from: Providence
June 04, 2014 8:33 AM
Ali Baba are you suggesting that the Syrian opposition is not barbaric?

They are so barbaric that they do not hesitate commiting atrocities against the small minority of non-barbaric opposition. This is the reason that many people that supported the initial uprising in Syria are now reluctantly supporting the non-democrartic Assad (much like some pro-democracy forces in Egypt)
In Response

by: ali baba from: new york
June 03, 2014 9:59 PM
the election is fair in Egypt. people are happy that Muslim brotherhood is over

by: Lefteris Pavlides from: Providence
June 03, 2014 5:14 PM
But does the US call Egypt Election a 'Disgrace'?

If not why not?
In Response

by: Lefteris Pavlides from: Providence
June 04, 2014 8:27 AM
Ali Baba are you suggesting that people in Syria are NOT happy because the Muslim Fundamentalist (actually much worse violators of basic human rights compered with Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood) is over?

I do not think so. Women's and religious freedoms are threatened by Muslim Fundamentalist fighting in Syria.
In Response

by: ali baba from: new york
June 03, 2014 11:21 PM
Election in Egypt is not disgrace .people enjoy removing Muslim brotherhood. Muslim brotherhood are barbaric people

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Amnesty Accuses Saudi Coalition of ‘War Crimes’ in Yemeni
Henry Ridgwell
October 12, 2015 4:03 PM
The human rights group Amnesty International has accused the Saudi-led coalition of war crimes in airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen. Henry Ridgwell reports the group says hundreds of civilians have been killed in strikes on residential areas.

Video Amnesty Accuses Saudi Coalition of ‘War Crimes’ in Yemen

The human rights group Amnesty International has accused the Saudi-led coalition of war crimes in airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen. Henry Ridgwell reports the group says hundreds of civilians have been killed in strikes on residential areas.

Video No Resolution in Sight to US House Speaker Drama

Uncertainty grips the U.S. Congress, where no consensus replacement has emerged to succeed Republican House Speaker John Boehner after his surprise resignation announcement. Half of Congress is effectively leaderless weeks before America risks defaulting on its national debt and enduring another partial government shutdown.

Video New Art Exhibit Focuses on Hope

Out of struggle and despair often comes hope. That idea is behind a new art exhibit at the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland. "The Big Hope Show" features 25 artists, some of whom overcame trauma and loss. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Columbus Day Still Generates Controversy as US Holiday

The second Monday of October is Columbus Day in the United States, honoring explorer Christopher Columbus and his discovery of the Americas. The achievement is a source of pride for many, but for some the holiday is marked by controversy. Adrianna Zhang has more.

Video Anger Simmers as Turks Begin to Bury Blast Victims

The Turkish army carried out new air strikes on Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) targets on Sunday, a day after the banned group announced a unilateral cease fire. The air raids apparently are in retaliation for the Saturday bombing in Turkey's capital Ankara that killed at least 95 people and wounded more than 200 others. But as Zlatica Hoke reports, there are suspicions that Islamic State is involved.

Video Bombings a Sign of Turkey’s Deep Troubles

Turkey has begun a three-day period of mourning following Saturday’s bomb attacks in the capital, Ankara, that killed nearly 100 people. With contentious parliamentary elections three weeks away, the attacks highlight the challenges Turkey is facing as it struggles with ethnic friction, an ongoing migrant crisis, and growing tensions with Russia. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Afghanistan’s Progress Aided by US Academic Center

Recent combat in Afghanistan has shifted world attention back to the central Asian nation’s continuing civil war and economic challenges. But, while there are many vexing problems facing Afghanistan’s government and people, a group of academics in Omaha, Nebraska has kept a strong faith in the nation’s future through programs to improve education. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Omaha, Nebraska.

Video House Republicans in Chaos as Speaker Favorite Withdraws

The Republican widely expected to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives shocked his colleagues Thursday by announcing he was withdrawing his candidacy. The decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy means the race to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner is now wide open. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Video German, US Officials Investigate Volkswagen

German officials have taken steps to restore some of the reputation their car industry has lost after a recent Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal. Authorities have searched Volkswagen headquarters and other locations in an effort to identify the culprits in the creation of software that helps cheat on emission tests. Meanwhile, a group of lawmakers in Washington held a hearing to get to the bottom of the cheating strategy that was first discovered in the United States. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Why Are Gun Laws So Hard for Congress to Tackle?

Since taking office, President Barack Obama has spoken out or issued statements about 15 mass shootings. The most recent shooting, in which 10 people were killed at a community college, sparked outrage over the nation's gun laws. But changing those laws isn't as easy as many think. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.

Video In 'He Named Me Malala,' Guggenheim Finds Normal in Extraordinary

Davis Guggenheim’s documentary "He Named Me Malala" offers a probing look into the life of 18-year-old Malala Yousafsai, the Pakistani teenager who, in 2012, was shot in the head by the Taliban for standing up for her right to education in her hometown in Pakistan's Swat Valley. Guggenheim shows how, since then, Malala has become a symbol not as a victim of brutal violence, but as an advocate for girls’ education throughout the world. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.

Video Paintable Solar Cells May Someday Replace Silicon-Based Panels

Solar panels today are still factory-manufactured, with the use of some highly toxic substances such as cadmium chloride. But a researcher at St. Mary’s College, Maryland, says we are close to being able to create solar panels by painting them on a suitable surface, using nontoxic solutions. VOA’s George Putic reports.

VOA Blogs