Opposition Deems Assad Election Illegal as Moscow Says People Have Chosen their Future

Syria's exiled opposition vowed Thursday to continue its uprising against President Bashar Assad, saying his election to a new seven-year term was "illegal".

"The Syrian National Coalition reaffirms that this election is illegal and does not represent the Syrian people," it said in response to Assad's landslide victory in a Tuesday election held only in government-controlled areas.

"The people are continuing in their revolution until its goals of freedom, justice and democracy are reached."

The Russian Foreign Ministry meanwhile said that Syrians had chosen their country's future by voting in "legitimate" polls to reelect Assad.

"It's unacceptable to ignore the opinion of millions of Syrians who... came to polling stations and made a choice in the interests of the future of the country," spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said at a televised briefing.

"In Moscow the vote is seen as an important event that ensures the continued function of state institutions in Syria according to the constitution of this sovereign country," he said.

"We have no basis to cast doubt on the legitimacy of these elections," Lukashevich said, while acknowledging that "in these conditions, they cannot be considered 100 percent perfect from the point of view of democratic standards."

"At least Russian observers came to the conclusion that they took place in a transparent atmosphere, despite all the complex security conditions in this country, and they noted a very high turnout," added Lukashevich.

Russia felt "disappointment" at the "shallow politicized reaction" to the polls from "certain international partners," the foreign ministry spokesman said.

Source: Agence France Presse

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