CAUGHT ON TAPE: A correspondent for Syrian state television was caught on camera Tuesday urging voters in Syria’s northwestern Latakia province get a move on and speak up in favor of President Bashar al-Assad.
“Let’s go… come on, we want to hear something nice, ‘we’ve come from Idlib for Syria!’” says the correspondent slightly off-mic. The video was reportedly recorded at the voting center at Latakia’s Tishrin University.
“Linar…you’re on the air,” says the anchor, repeating himself twice before gaining the correspondent’s attention.
Voting for the presidential elections in Syria closed Tuesday night after Damascus extended the deadline from seven o’clock to midnight, citing heavy turnout. Voting took place in all 14 Syrian provinces except for the northern province of Raqqa, which is currently controlled by al-Qaeda splinter group the Islamic State in Iraq and a-Sham.
Both Western and Syrian observers said that the voting process served as little more than a vehicle for pro-Assad celebrations.
“It was like a tribute [to Assad] and not a presidential election with three competitors,” al-Hasaka-based journalist Islam al-Khafaji told Syria Direct Tuesday.
The in-country polling came six days after nearly 40 Syrian embassies worldwide opened their doors to Syrian citizens living outside of Syria to cast their votes.
The elections took place despite widespread rejection from the Syrian opposition and Western governments, who have condemned the process as a “farce.”
This is the first multiparty election in modern Syrian history. There were three candidates: Bashar Assad, parliamentarian Maher Hajjar, and former parliamentarian Hassan Nouri.