CITIZENS UNITED: Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, all but certain to win another seven-year term, has begun campaigning. It is not clear who, if anyone, he will run against.
On Tuesday, the 10-day nomination period for Syria’s upcoming presidential elections, scheduled for June 3, began across regime-held areas of Syria.
“Hand in hand, we build the Syria of tomorrow with the leader Bashar al-Assad,” reads a campaign poster along Brazil Street in the regime-controlled Homs neighborhood of al-Insha’at. The owners of a large local bakery hung the poster.
On Monday, the Speaker of the Syrian Parliament Jihad a-Laham announced the opening of the nomination period for the presidential elections, to be held on June 3 for “Syrians living on Syrian soil” and on May 28th at Syrian embassies for registered voters outside. Candidates have until May 1st to nominate themselves at the Supreme Constitutional Court.
A new electoral law requires any candidate to have “lived continuously in Syria for a period not less than 10 years” and to receive the nomination of at least 35 of 250 members of the Syrian Parliament.
“The holding of presidential elections on their assigned date according to the constitution and law is but one of many indications of coming victory,” a-Laham said, according to pro-Assad Syrian daily al-Watan.
The Syrian opposition and its Friends of Syria allies have criticized the elections as farcical, repeatedly referring to them as “a parody of democracy.”
“The Assad regime’s announcement on holding presidential elections in June is nothing but a parody to the international community, which rejects them,” Syrian National Coalition President Ajmed Jarba said in a statement Monday.
“Any elections, presidential or other,” organized outside of the framework of the June 2012 Geneva Communiqué, “would be a parody of democracy” with no credibility whatsoever, the European Union’s Foreign Affairs Council concluded in a meeting in Luxembourg on April 14.
President Bashar al-Assad did not face an opponent in elections in 2000 and 2007, in which he received and 99.7 and 97.62 percent of the vote.
Photo courtesy of Sam Dagher.
-April 22, 2014
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