Assad loyalists graffiti poster for ‘rival’ candidate
May 22, 2014
#DEMOCRACY: A campaign poster for presidential candidate Hassan a-Nouri is vandalized with the pro-Assad slogan of “God, Syria and Bashar” written over it in red paint, in this photograph circulating Thursday in opposition circles.
“Economic pluralism through true partnership,” reads the text of the poster itself, set alongside a smiling photograph of little-known businessman and nominal presidential contender Hassan a-Nouri.
Ahmad Nabulsi, a Red Crescent worker who posted the photo to pro-opposition Facebook group Tahrir Souri, commented wryly that the incident is an example of “#Democracy.”
“It’s not defacement, guys,” objects one commenter under the post. “They’re just clarifying the concept of ‘partnership.’”
The phrase “God, Syria and Bashar” is among the preferred slogans of hardline Assadists, along with “Assad, or we burn the country.”
While Syria’s June 3 poll will theoretically mark the first contested presidential elections in the country’s modern history, few doubt that Assad will emerge victorious.
“The regime’s shabiha have never for a day accepted the idea of presidential elections, only a referendum in which it’s already decided that Assad is the president,” Damascus-based activist Ismail Dirani told Syria Direct.
Syria’s recently passed electoral law requires that more than one candidate compete in the elections; it also restricts eligibility to candidates continuously residing inside the country for the past 10 years, effectively disqualifying all prominent opposition figures. The law also requires that each candidate receive signatures of support from 35 of the country’s 250 MPs.
Syria’s Supreme Constitutional Court disqualified 24 presidential “hopefuls” who stepped forward as potential nominees at the start of this month, leaving a-Nouri and obscure, communist-leaning MP Maher al-Hajjar to compete with Bashar al-Assad.