Syrian Refugees Believe Vote 'Illegitimate'

Syrian refugees believe the presidential election in their country will be "illegitimate," according to a poll released on Monday in Amman by an Arab think tank on the eve of the vote.

The study conducted by the Doha-based Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies (ACRPS) showed that 78 percent of Syrian refugees in the region believe the election on Tuesday will be "illegitimate," while 17 percent said the vote will be "legitimate."

Based on interviews conducted by 400 researchers with 5,267 refugees in camps and urban areas in Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon, the poll said 75 percent think that the election "does not represent the Syrian people."

Lebanon is home to more than one million Syrian refugees, while around 700,000 have fled to Turkey, 600,000 to Jordan, 220,000 to Iraq and 136,000 to Egypt, according to the U.N. refugee agency.

"There is almost a consensus... Three-quarters of those polled said they do not trust the Syrian regime and its institutions," said the study, announced at a news conference in Amman.

According to the study, 64 percent of respondents say "changing the political regime in Syria would be the best solution to the crisis," while 23 percent think that "reconciliation between all sides would solve the conflict."

Six percent "see that crushing the opposition is the solution," according to the poll, which has a two percent margin of error, said ACRPS.

The study said "78 percent believe that it would be better for Syria if President Bashar Assad steps down," while 17 percent disagreed.

Officially, 15 million people are eligible to vote in Syria's election, which Assad is expected to win by a landslide, against two little-known candidates seen as token rivals.

While Syrians living in areas controlled by government forces will vote on Tuesday, Syrians living abroad cast their ballots last Wednesday.

Syria's electoral commission said on Saturday that 95 percent of registered expatriate voters took part in the polls, according to state news agency SANA.

Source: Agence France Presse

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