Assad's re-Election Assured in War-Ravaged Syria

إقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية W460

Syrian President Bashar Assad's is preparing for an inevitable re-election next week as the civil war shifts in the army's favor, with rebels losing ground and world powers paralyzed by divisions.

A brutal three-year conflict that wrought destruction across the country and displaced millions, has left large swathes of territory in rebel hands. And the June 3 vote, in which Assad is seeking a third seven-year term, will only take place in regime-controlled areas.

The main opposition has already dismissed Syria's first multi-candidate election as a "farce" after the regime ensured no upsets by barring exiles from standing and with candidates needing the endorsement of 35 MPs in the state-controlled parliament.

The United States has called the vote a "parody of democracy."

Candidates Maher al-Hajjar, an independent former communist MP, and Hassan al-Nouri, a businessman belonging to the tolerated opposition, are seen as token rivals giving the vote a veneer of credibility.

No candidate from the rebel ranks is running, in what is effectively the first presidential election in more than 50 years. Until now, like his father and predecessor Hafez, who ruled with an iron first from 1970 to 2000, Bashar secured his two previous mandates through a referendum.

"It is not about measuring popularity in a vote but to prove the power of the regime to force the country to demonstrate allegiance," said Volker Perthes, director of the German Institute for International and Security Affairs.

In theory, all Syrians over the age of 17 are eligible to vote, including the seven million displaced within the country, but the reality is far more complicated, and dangerous.

"The elections will take place in all the cities in Syria, with the exception of Raqa," which is the hands of powerful jihadist group the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), the constitutional court's spokesman Majid al-Khadra told Agence France Presse.

By implication, there will be no polling stations in much of the countryside, notably northern and eastern Syria and around Damascus, or in areas of certain cities under rebel control, including Aleppo and Deir Ezzor.

Fabrice Balanche, a French geographer who specializes in Syria, estimates that the vote will take place only 40 percent of the territory, where around 60 percent of the population live.

Voting actually begins on Wednesday, when Syrian expats go to the polls at 39 embassies around the world, pro-regime newspaper Al-Watan reported on Tuesday, citing a foreign ministry source.

But of the estimated three million Syrians living abroad, whether as refugees or expatriates, only around 200,000 are able to vote.

"It's a relatively acceptable figure, if we bear in mind the fact that France, Germany and Belgium have banned Syrian citizens" from casting their ballots, Al-Watan said.

Much of the international community has criticized Damascus for holding an election with the civil war still raging. But staunch Damascus allies Russia and Iran are supporting the vote, and Tehran has said it will send election observers.

The conflict began in March 2011 when the army suppressed a peaceful uprising, sparking a full-blown civil war that has killed more than 160,000 people, forced nearly half the population to flee their homes and shattered the economy.

Souhail Belhadj, author and academic at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, said "Bashar wants to prove that he is the political alternative and that he is able to restore order and legality, even if this legality is achieved through a non-democratic political process."

Events on the ground appear to working in Assad's favor, even if the army's gains remain limited.

Infighting between rival jihadists, namely ISIL and Al-Nusra Front, al-Qaida's Syria affiliate, has killed about 4,000 people.

Al-Nusra has been accepted as an ally by many rebels, undermining their support in the West.

In the end, analysts say the election will not lead to any significant political changes.

"The Assads have always been sticklers for superficial constitutional legitimacy, without ever conceding an inch of their absolute power," said Aron Lund, an expert on the conflict at the Swedish Institute of International Affairs.

Assad might perhaps make "some little gesture towards negotiations and compromise, for international consumption" and to show his supporters that he's got a realistic plan for the future.

Comments 41
Default-user-icon mazen (Guest) 28 May 2014, 16:06

I just hope, for credibility's sake, he doesn't win 99.97% of the vote.
89.3% would be fine.

Default-user-icon hanoun (Guest) 28 May 2014, 16:20

may god punish who kidnapped the Syrian revolution and turned it to religious fanatic war
and you have to add he is making elections on bodies of thousands of al Qaeda type terrorists

Missing bigjohn 28 May 2014, 16:21

Would you have said the same about AmeriKA when they recently had elections in occupied Afghanistan???

Missing bigjohn 28 May 2014, 17:07

because I oppose the occupation and destruction of Afghanistan that makes me a BOKO Haram supporter? It is haram to talk to you.

Thumb .mowaten. 28 May 2014, 17:14

mabrouk to our syrian brothers, today the massive turnout has spoken a thousand times louder than all the terrorist propaganda. by contributing massively to this election, organized by syria for syrians, they have shown who they support.

Thumb .mowaten. 28 May 2014, 19:07

lol you and your continuing propaganda, images speak louder than words:
http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=743_1401285101

these images show tens of thousands walking towards the embassy, by end of day it will have been hundreds of thousands. and that's lebanon only.
as for those who cannot vote, it's you who has not read, it's due to the "friends of democracy and of syria" who prevented them from voting.
"France, Germany and Belgium have banned Syrian citizens from casting their ballots"
UAE is not mentioned here but they also banned syrians from voting.

on june 3rd, many more hundreds of thousands will vote in border crossings. but hey, dont worry about it, even if you can't see it, the world has, and most importantly, the syrians themselves.

Thumb Mystic 28 May 2014, 19:31

How does defeat feels cowboy? Not very good i guess. You still whining, why don't you stop making a fool out of yourself and just quit it. You have lost my friend.

Thumb .mowaten. 28 May 2014, 20:25

lol yea, and denial is just a river in egypt

Missing peace 29 May 2014, 00:58

it is called "pavlovian reflex".... LOL

Missing coolmec 28 May 2014, 17:15

big john
Not only I criticize both but I criticize more their supporters who are simply viewing things as M8ers or M15ers I advocate the elimination of both because in my opinion both are using Lebanon as the battleground for their personal vendetta at the expense of the country's interest and the well being of its citizens.
This is what baffles me the most you guys who simply limit yourself to view things as m8 or m14
can't you guys see beyond that? see Lebanon for a change

Missing coolmec 28 May 2014, 17:17

M15 is M14 sorry
come to think of it maybe we should start an M15 to eliminate the other M's..lol

Thumb Machia 28 May 2014, 17:30

All 666 Bashar worshipers are extatic. The sacrifice of 150,000 humans should be celebrated!

Thumb .mowaten. 28 May 2014, 19:14

yea, the 66 of them even
United Arab Emirates

Thumb .mowaten. 28 May 2014, 19:14

http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=743_1401285101

Thumb .mowaten. 28 May 2014, 19:15

ignore the "United Arab Emirates", mistakenly pasted

Thumb Machia 28 May 2014, 21:36

Scary stuff this "Sawwet Wla" crowd.

Thumb liberty 29 May 2014, 04:52

mowaten tell the forum how you resisted the Syrian occupation through demonstrations and breaking through police barriers in search of freedom. Hypocrite indeed

Missing peace 28 May 2014, 17:41

wahahaha! with only him as a candidate how easy it is to pretend to be "democratic"! LOL

Missing coolmec 28 May 2014, 17:45

Prace & Machia
the Syrians have to vote, If they don't Bachar's forces will stop them at the border as the regime will consider them as pro rebels and you can only guess what will happen to them.
This is called democracy Bachar's style. he he he
what a joke

Missing peace 28 May 2014, 17:46

sure, they were obliged to go and vote! many syrians testified the fact! and M8ers believe that the syrians have the choice! LOL

Thumb .mowaten. 28 May 2014, 19:16

but there are 50 million anti-bashar syrians, and bashar fell 3 years ago!! how come they are still afraid??

Missing peace 28 May 2014, 19:20

still that idiot and it gets worse by the day... poor man living in denial for his pimps...

sure and in north korea also everyone supports the dictator...easy when you terrorize...
the syrians were OBLIGED in majority to go and vote... reprisals if they do not... so of course it is very easy to get "supporters"..and stupid M8ers to boast about it!

poor mowaten...

Missing peace 28 May 2014, 23:24

poor FPM thingie... seems you know nothing on how a dictatorship proceeds... pity you ignorant fool

educate yourself you ll look less ridiculous....

Thumb Machia 29 May 2014, 01:07

MooWati Moukhabarat, (sorry discard this khayyo)

Za Syrian beoble loves Bashar. He is tall he is brain he is moustache. He kill takfiris and little civilian here and there. But he kill, maim, torture, destroy for Syria.
He is not president but emberor thigh in thigh with great great beards Khamanei and Nasrallah.

Thumb Machia 28 May 2014, 17:46

Za world Lovez Joumhouri e Islami e Irani e.
Fantastic achievements for humanity: Suicide bombing, key for paradise, stoning, flogging, hanging for converting to Christianity,poverty, economic hardship, holocaust denial, anti-semitism, chador, killing Syrian civilians, arming, supporting and fighting alongside Bashar worshipers, corruption etc.
Wow! What a great regime! I mean I totally understand you Southern.

Missing coolmec 28 May 2014, 17:55

yes they have a choice vote or for bachar or die

Thumb Mystic 28 May 2014, 19:46

Why would the Syrian refugees go through all this trouble in Lebanon then? This is a contradiction to your theory. Which is a fact

Thumb FlameCatcher 28 May 2014, 18:28

Ya Southern : the only Syrians voting are the pro-bashar. Meanwhile, 90% of the population is boycotting the elections !

You will see, Bachar will win with 95% again ! Or 75% to give a semblance of democracy !

Thumb liberty 29 May 2014, 04:50

HA organized the syrian presidential elections in Lebanon but failed and boycotted the Lebanese presidential elections. Those Syrians(Shia Lebanese) who showed up and clogged the streets are not refugees and should be deported to Assad controlled territories. Others confirmed news indicate many of the real refugees were intimidated and threatened if they did not vote for Assad including not renewing their papers, not allowing them to go back, etc.
The Lebanese government should be ashamed for allowing this farce to happen.

Thumb Mystic 28 May 2014, 19:35

He can't admit he has lost his fight. Just like the rest of them vultures. Don't pay him no mind Southern. This Texas Cowboy, lost his horse.

Thumb Mystic 28 May 2014, 19:45

Your salafis are fighting a lost battle. Even Naharnet says so now, and they are pro USA. So what more do you want? Accept your defeat already, and let Syria heal and reform.

Thumb Machia 28 May 2014, 21:40

All the Bashar worshipers and Islamo Fascists are out in force on this "Sawwet Wla" election story. It is like a Zombie movie. Thriller!

Missing peace 28 May 2014, 23:39

typical childish arguments for ignorants like you...

look for the stick in your opponent eyes but not the beam in yours! and then it gives ignorants the feeling they are smart!

pathetic...

Missing peace 29 May 2014, 00:22

sure anonyme! FPMers used to praise USA and even ask their help when it suited them but now? they praise dictatorships!
and they say they did not change! LOL

Thumb liberty 29 May 2014, 04:54

How many flamethrower? You are a certified loser who knows nothing but is so egotistical it is not even funny.

Missing peace 28 May 2014, 23:26

oh! and why did the US send prisoners from guantanamo to syria to get interrogated? because your syrian friends are experts and have no match! but you already know this i guess little bashar cheerleader...

Missing abou.omar 28 May 2014, 23:48

Bashar will win, Iran and Saudi will agree on terms and a new president will be elected in lebanon and that will be General Aoun or in the worst case our current Army general. i am not with Aoun at all becoming president nor am i with Geagea but thats a fact

Thumb .mowaten. 29 May 2014, 12:23

lol

Missing peace 29 May 2014, 00:32

there are no such thing as lebanese detainees in syria... so said FPM Orangina! so do not expect his sheep to tell you the contrary!

Default-user-icon ihab imad (Guest) 29 May 2014, 09:13

من المؤسف انّنا بلا رئيس في الوقت الذي ينتخبون رئيس بلد أخر في ديارنا .....يا عيب الشوم علينا ملّا شعب صرنا بلا كرامي من ورى رجال اشبه برجال الدوله وكل هدفن جمع الملايين من نقط عرق المعطّاريين....هيدا بلد """ منّو بلد """

Missing mark 29 May 2014, 09:35

mabrouk to bashar kalb. results are 100% syrian vote (including the dead and prisoners) +30% vote from filthy HA and other terrorist