State Department: Syrian elections are illegitimate

Despite two other candidates running, election in Syria is widely expected to give President Bashar Al-Assad a fourth seven-year term.

Elad Benari ,

Bashar Al-Assad
Bashar Al-Assad
Reuters

The US State Department on Tuesday denounced Syria's presidential election, which is set to take place on Wednesday, as neither "free nor fair", The Hill reports.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken, in concert with the foreign ministers of the UK, Italy, Germany and France, said in a statement that the Syrian elections were deemed "fraudulent" because they were being held outside of UN supervision.

"We denounce the Assad regime’s decision to hold an election outside of the framework described in UN Security Council Resolution 2254 and we support the voices of all Syrians, including civil society organizations and the Syrian opposition, who have condemned the electoral process as illegitimate," the statement added.

The election in Syria is widely expected to give President Bashar Al-Assad a fourth seven-year term.

Assad’s Baath party and its allies won a majority in parliamentary elections held across government-held areas of Syria in July, taking 177 seats out of 250.

Unsurprisingly, during the last polls in 2016, Assad’s ruling Baath party and its allies won a majority of the chamber's 250 seats.

The Baath party has governed Syria with an iron fist for the past half-century. In 2012, however, Damascus for the first time allowed candidates from outside the party to run in legislative elections.

Running against Assad in Wednesday’s contest are two challengers, including Mahmoud Ahmed Merei, head of the Arab Organization for Human Rights, and former deputy cabinet minister Abdallah Saloum Abdallah.

A presidential election was held in 2014 and won by Assad, though there were two other candidates who ran against him then as well.

The National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces, the main group representing Syria's rebel forces, has also denounced Wednesday's election as "illegal and a farce," while another opposition coalition, the Syrian National Council, has said that no election in which Assad participates shall be accepted.



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