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Syria Holds Parliamentary Elections Amid Dual Crises 


In this photo released on the official Facebook page of Syrian Presidency, Syrian President Bashar Assad and his wife Asma voting at a polling station in the parliamentary elections, in Damascus, Syria, July 19, 2020.

Syria held parliamentary elections Sunday, voting to fill 250 seats in the country’s legislative body amid the coronavirus pandemic and a deepening economic crisis.

The elections, the third since Syria’s civil war began in 2011, had previously been postponed twice due to the coronavirus pandemic, but took place under strict guidelines regulating distancing and sanitation.

Roughly 2,000 candidates are running in the election from a number of parties, but none presented a serious challenge to Bashir al Assad, in power for two decades, and his Baath party.

Voting took place at more than 7,000 polling stations across the country, including former rebel bastions where voting did not take place in 2016.

Bashir’s opponents have called the election a farce, citing his responsibility for years of conflict that have left hundreds of thousands dead and millions displaced.

The Syrian National Coalition, an opposition bloc based in Turkey, called Sunday’s poll a "theatrical election by the Assad regime."

The vote comes amid an economic crisis in Syria which faces harsh sanctions from the United States and an economic crisis in neighboring Lebanon. The value of the Syrian pound has plummeted in recent months.