AL-ASSAD WINS LANDSLIDE WIN IN SYRIAN POLLS DUBBED AS ‘BOGUS’
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has been re-elected for a fourth seven-year term, scoring an expected landslide in a presidential election dismissed by the opposition as a sham, Khalil Hamlo reported for Deutsche Presse-Agentur (dpa).
Al-Assad won 95.1 percent of the valid votes cast in Wednesday’s election, head of the Syrian parliament Hamoud Sabagh said. Some 78.6 percent of eligible voters cast ballots, Sabagh added at a press conference in Damascus.
Votes were cast both inside and outside Syria, he said. Syrian state television showed live celebrations of al-Assad’s win in several parts of the country, including Damascus. Loyalists waved the Syrian flag and pictures of al-Assad. Celebratory fireworks were also set off.
Three contenders, including al-Assad, ran in Wednesday’s polls, Syria’s second presidential election since the country’s civil war started in 2011. Wednesday’s election was held in government-controlled areas.
The election has been condemned as fraudulent by Syria's opposition as well as the US, Britain, France, Germany, and Italy.
The five nations said in a statement on the eve of the vote that they "support the voices of all Syrians, including civil society organizations and the Syrian opposition, who have condemned the electoral process as illegitimate."
Al-Assad won 88.7 percent of votes in the last election in 2014 - Syria’s first with multiple candidates.
With the help of Iran and Russia, al-Assad has retaken control of more than 60 percent of the country.
The rebels still hold some areas in north and north-western Syria, while Kurds rule areas in the northeast. Al-Assad, 55, has ruled Syria since 2000. His father, Hafez, governed Syria from 1971 to 2000.
Syria's crisis started with peaceful pro-democracy protests in March 2011. It soon evolved into a full-blown conflict, drawing in foreign fighters and powers.