Tue, 15 Jun 2021

Syria's Assad Wins Fourth Term in Office With 95.1% of Votes

Voice of America
28 May 2021, 09:35 GMT+10

BEIRUT - Syria's President Bashar al-Assad won a fourth term in office with 95.1% of votes in an election that will extend his rule over a country ruined by war but that opponents and the West say was marked by fraud.

Assad's government says the election shows Syria is functioning normally despite the decade-old conflict, which has killed hundreds of thousands of people and driven 11 million people - about half the population - from their homes.

Head of Parliament Hammouda Sabbagh announced the result at a news conference on Thursday, saying voter turnout was around 78%.

Parliament Speaker Hammouda Sabbagh announces the results of the Syrian presidential election at the Syrian parliament building... Parliament Speaker Hammouda Sabbagh announces the results of the Syrian presidential election at the Syrian parliament building in Damascus, Syria, May 27, 2021.

The election went ahead despite a U.N.-led peace process that had called for voting under international supervision that would help pave the way for a new constitution and a political settlement.

The win delivers Assad seven more years in power and lengthens his family's rule to nearly six decades. His father, Hafez al-Assad, led Syria for 30 years until his death in 2000.

Bashar al-Assad's years as president are defined by the conflict that began in 2011 with peaceful protests before spiraling into a multisided conflict that has fractured the Middle Eastern country and drawn in foreign friends and enemies.

Poll workers count ballots after polls closed during the country's presidential elections in Damascus, Syria, May 27, 2021... Poll workers count ballots after polls closed during the country's presidential elections in Damascus, Syria, May 27, 2021.

"Thank you to all Syrians for their high sense of nationalism and their notable participation ... for the future of Syria's children and its youth. Let's start from tomorrow our campaign of work to build hope and build Syria," Assad wrote on his campaign's Facebook page.

Rallies with thousands of people waving Syrian flags and holding pictures of Assad while singing and dancing had been taking place all day Thursday in celebration of holding the election ahead of the announcement of the result.

Supporters of Syria's President Bashar al-Assad celebrate after the results of the presidential election announced that he won... Supporters of Syria's President Bashar al-Assad celebrate after the results of the presidential election announced that he won a fourth term in office, in Damascus, Syria, May 27, 2021.

Officials have told Reuters privately that authorities had organized the large rallies in recent days to encourage voting, and the security apparatus that underpins Assad's Alawite minority-dominated rule had instructed state employees to vote.

Assad was running against two obscure candidates - former Deputy Cabinet Minister Abdallah Saloum Abdallah, and Mahmoud Ahmed Marei, head of a small, officially sanctioned opposition party.

Marei got 3.3% of the vote, while Saloum received 1.5%, Sabbagh said.

After the announcement, fireworks erupted in celebration, and crowds continued cheering in various main squares in cities across Syria.

More Beijing News

Access More

Sign up for Beijing News

a daily newsletter full of things to discuss over drinks.and the great thing is that it's on the house!