News / Middle East

US Calls Syria Election a 'Disgrace'

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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.

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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

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