Presidential Polls Held in War-Torn Syria; Assad to Grip on Power

Story Highlights
  • Syrians cast votes during presidential polls
  • Assad to perpetuate power
  • The UK, US, France, Germany, and Italy demand 'free and fair elections'

World: Syrians in government-held areas of the war-torn country headed to polling stations early Wednesday to vote in a presidential election set to give Bashar Assad a fourth seven-year term. 

This is the second term of the presidential election since the country’s conflict began 10 years ago and has been dismissed as a sham by the opposition and Western countries. 

 Abdullah Salloum Abdullah and Mahmoud Ahmad Marie are two others competing against the two-time president Bashar al-Assad. Assad has been repeatedly accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity. 

  In 2014, Assad received 88.7% of the vote in an election that took place in government-controlled parts of the country. At the time, opposition groups ran large swathes of Syria — Assad’s forces have since wrested control over most of that territory. Turkey controls some territory in the northwest of the country and the US military has a presence in the country’s northeast.

Highlighting the electoral polls, the US, UK, France, Germany, and Italy issued a joint statement saying the poll “will neither be free nor fair.”  They demanded a free and fair election under the supervision of the UN  and all Syrians should be allowed to participate in a safe and neutral environment. 

 The election comes amid a financial tailspin in Syria that has caused its currency to crash and poverty levels rose to nearly 90%. The price of food has skyrocketed and most Syrians can barely afford basic staples.

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