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Bashar al-Assad elected for a fourth term with 95% of the vote




Bashar al-Assad obtained 95.1% of the votes (photo: Syrian Presidency)
Bashar al-Assad obtained 95.1% of the votes (photo: Syrian Presidency)
SYRIA. Without any suspense, Bashar al-Assad came out on top of the polls in the presidential election held on Wednesday, May 26, 2021. The Syrian leader, who was seeking a fourth term, obtained 95.1% of the vote (against 88.7% in 2014) leaving only 3.3% to Mahmoud Marei and 1.5% to Abdallah Salloum Abdallah, his two competitors of the opposition tolerated by the power.

President since 2000 after succeeding his deceased father Hafez, 55-year-old Bashar al-Assad is back for a seven-year term.

14.2 million voters participated in this election out of a theoretical electorate of some 18 million, a turnout of 76.64%, said the Speaker of the Syrian Parliament who announced these results, Thursday, May 27, 2021 in the evening. Only the inhabitants residing for at least ten consecutive years in the two-thirds of the territory controlled by the Syrian regime and those who could go to some Syrian embassies abroad where ballot boxes were available, were able to cast their ballots. However, in order to vote, the latter had to have a valid passport, stamped with an official stamp of exit from Syrian territory, which excluded, by definition, the entire opposition.

 

80% of the population below the poverty line

Judging the voting conditions to be undemocratic, the Western powers had been criticizing the holding of this presidential election for weeks. As a result, the results were disqualified.

After ten years of civil war and some 388,000 deaths (including 117,000 civilians according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights - SOHR), Syria is in ruins. The cost of reconstruction is estimated at $1,200 billion (€985 billion) by the NGO World Vision. A third of the country is still in the hands of the Kurds in the northeast and the jihadists in the northwest. The Syrian regime owes its survival to the support of Iran and Russia, which have helped it win military victories and recapture a large part of the territory.

According to the UN, 80% of the population lives below the poverty line, while food prices are at their highest level since 2013. 7.6 million people received humanitarian aid between January and September 2020. 90% of children would need it, an increase of 20% in a single year.

The United Nations estimates that more than 13 million Syrians have been forced to leave their homes in a decade. 6.6 million have gone abroad, including 1.05 million to Europe (nearly a fourth of refugees worldwide are Syrians), and nearly 7 million are internally displaced (the largest IDP population in the world).

 

Eric Apim


Friday, May 28th 2021



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