Assad's party wins expected majority in parliamentary polls

Syria's ruling Baath party and its allies have won a widely expected majority in parliamentary elections that were held across government-controlled areas of the war-torn country, according to the results announced on Tuesday. The exiled opposition labeled the vote a "farce."

President Bashar al-Assad's party and allied candidates, who contested the election under the "National Unity" list, won 177 of the 250 seats in Sunday's voteq DPA reports.

Turnout stood at 33%, as compared to 57% in 2016, said the country's electoral commission.

More than 7,000 polling stations were set up across government-controlled parts of the country. Voting also took place in former opposition-held areas for the time since government forces retook much of the territory it lost at the beginning of the civil war.

The polls come at a time when Syria faces international sanctions and a crumbling economy. The value of the Syrian pound has plummeted in recent months, with fresh US sanctions implemented last month compounding the situation. Many of the 1,658 candidates ran on a pledge to revive the economy and rebuild infrastructure destroyed by the nine-year war.

Syria's opposition in exile denounced the election as a sham. "Simply put, these are illegitimate elections. The regime chose the candidates, even the independent ones, and they elected them," said Yehya Aridi, a member of the opposition committee at the UN peace talks in Geneva. "The people in Syria did not have the freedom to vote … this was a theater play by the regime," Aridi told German news agency DPA.

Washington on Monday decried the vote as "stage-managed" and "unfree."

"The Assad regime carried out rigged parliamentary elections yesterday and the vote was neither free nor fair. Syrians and the world aren't fooled by this latest example of Assad's corruption and repression," said US State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus.

The election was postponed twice from April due to the novel coronavirus, which has infected 540 people and left 31 dead in the country, according to official figures.

Similar articles

  • Macron in Beirut calls Lebanon for reforms, volunteers to coordinate international support

    Macron in Beirut calls Lebanon for reforms, volunteers to coordinate international support

    Arriving in Lebanon on Thursday, French President Emmanuel Macron called for the country's political elite to make swift and urgent reforms, news wires reported. Macron became the first world leader to visit Beirut after the deadly and devastating port blast on Tuesday, that killed over 100 people and left up to 300,000 without homes. It was the latest blow to a country already reeling from an unprecedented economic crisis and political turbulence.

    31
  • Macron goes to Beirut, world offers help to Lebanon

    Macron goes to Beirut, world offers help to Lebanon

    France on Wednesday sent planes to Beirut with rescuers, medical equipment and a mobile clinic, ahead of a visit on Thursday by President Emmanuel Macron, as world leaders offer support to the Lebanese capital devastated by a massive explosion. Macron will meet his counterpart Michel Aoun, whom he called late Tuesday, as well as PM Hassan Diab, the Elysee Palace announced. Lebanon is a former French protectorate and the countries retain close political and economic ties.

    38
  • Years of negligence lead to deadly Beirut blast

    Years of negligence lead to deadly Beirut blast

    Initial investigations indicate years of inaction and negligence over the storage of highly explosive material in Beirut port caused the blast that killed over 100 people on Tuesday, an official source familiar with the findings said cited by Reuters. The PM and presidency said on Tuesday that 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate, used in fertilisers and bombs, had been stored for six years at the port without safety measures.

    30