Syria: Elections held despite critics’ contention that they undermine peace talks | Los Angeles Times

Syrian television, the state news agency shows an anchor roaming a polling place as people shuffle toward ballot boxes, awkwardly avoiding eye contact. Some start dancing in the middle of the crowd, while off to the side a young girl recites a poem extolling the virtues of the homeland. “It is a duty upon every citizen to vote,” Inas Qaasem, a Damascus resident, told state television at a polling station. “They have the freedom to choose, that is the most important thing.” When asked how she had chosen her candidate, Qaasem smiled shyly and said “I don’t know. I didn’t read anything. I just saw that people were voting, and I decided to come and vote as well.” On Wednesday, 3,500 candidates vied for a place in Syria’s 250-seat parliament — though the result is not expected to be any different from that of previous elections, which have produced a quiescent parliament.

Syria: Parliamentary elections held despite widespread criticism | Associated Press

Syrians in government-controlled areas headed to polling stations Wednesday to elect a new 250-member parliament that is expected to serve as a rubber stamp for President Bashar al-Assad. Shortly after the stations opened at 7 a.m., people began turning up. Around 3,500 government-approved candidates are competing after more than 7,000 others dropped out. Parliament elections in Syria are held every four years, and Damascus says the vote is constitutional and separate from the peace talks in Geneva aimed at ending the war. But the opposition says it contributes to an unfavourable climate for negotiations amid fierce fighting that threatens an increasingly tenuous cease-fire engineered by the United States and Russia.

Syria: Assad sets April 13 parliamentary elections | AFP

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad announced Monday that parliamentary elections are to be held on April 13, state news agency SANA reported, shortly after Washington and Moscow announced a ceasefire plan. Assad issued a decree which included seat allocations for each of the provinces in Syria, which last held parliamentary elections in May 2012. That was the first time that multiple parties — not just the ruling Baath party — were allowed to stand. Still, most of the 250 members of parliament that were elected for four-year terms were Baath members.

Syria: Talks produce election road map after Paris attacks | Reuters

Russia, the United States and powers from Europe and the Middle East outlined a plan on Saturday for a political process in Syria leading to elections within two years, but differences remained on key issues such as President Bashar al-Assad’s fate. A day after gunmen and suicide bombers went on a rampage through Paris, killing at least 127 people, foreign ministers and senior officials from more than a dozen countries agreed to work for a ceasefire in Syria’s civil war, but U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said it would not apply to Islamic State. French President Francois Hollande pledged a “merciless response” to the attacks, which he said had been organized by the Islamist militant force. France is part of the U.S.-led coalition carrying out air strikes against the group in Syria and Iraq.

Syria: President Assad Accepts Early Parliamentary Elections, Putin Says | Bloomberg

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has agreed to early parliamentary elections and to share some power with his opponents, a concession that may facilitate a broader international coalition against Islamic State, Russian President Vladimir Putin said. Russia would consider participating in the coalition and the Russian president has already discussed the issue with U.S. President Barack Obama, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, Putin told reporters in Vladivostok on Friday. Russia has been pushing for a wider campaign against Islamic State that would include Assad, something the U.S. and Europe have opposed. “There is a general understanding that joint efforts in the fight against terrorism should go hand by hand with the political process in Syria,” Putin said. Assad “agrees to this,” and has also agreed to early parliamentary elections and to include “healthy opposition” in the government, said Putin, a key ally of the Syrian president. Four Syrian lawmakers couldn’t be immediately reached for comment.

Syria: Presidential election: the regime’s extreme confidence | openDemocracy

Syria concluded its first multi-candidate presidential election in about fifty years on 3 June. The result of the election was a foregone conclusion. The incumbent president, Bashar al-Assad, has won with an announced 88.7 percent of the vote, and has secured another seven-year term for himself as Syria’s leader. However, the significance of the election does not reside in its result, nor the supposed democratic era Assad supporters think it heralds. Instead, the election is significant because it confirms how secure the regime feels about itself and its strategy for confronting the insurgency. The election is not important because the government does not control large sections of the country and was unable to set up polling booths in rebel-held localities, some of which are just a few kilometres from Damascus. According to UN estimates, nearly half of the total Syrian population is displaced, with about two to three million residing outside of Syria as refugees. Given these factors, it is clear that the requisite conditions of peace and normalcy are palpably absent for the result of these elections to be taken as indicative of the country’s mood as a whole.

Syria: Vote a Mix of Exuberance and Fear | Wall Street Journal

Government supporters stuffed ballot boxes and staged rallies inside polling stations in an election that President Bashar al-Assad is expected to use as a mandate to prosecute the civil war. Opponents of the regime inside and outside the country have dismissed the presidential election as a parody of democracy. As the voting proceeded on Tuesday, the nearly 40-month war continued without letup and the sky above Damascus was filled with the buzz of military aircraft carrying out bombing sorties against targets in rebel-held suburbs. The mood was a mixture of fear, intimidation and exuberance. The voting was held only in regime-controlled areas of the country. At polling stations in the capital Damascus and its suburbs, Assad supporters were seen casting handfuls of ballots for absent members of their families. At other stations, government workers arrived aboard buses and chanted adoring slogans before casting their votes for the 48-year-old president, who is locking in a third, seven-year term.

Syria: Presidential elections: Three candidates, one face | Al Akhbar

Tomorrow – after more than half a century – Syrians will go to the polls to cast a vote for the presidency. Allegedly, they will be able to choose freely between three candidates, including the current president, Bashar al-Assad. While there is little doubt that Assad will win, how has the election process been conducted and how have the challenging candidates tried to sway voters? Bashar al-Assad, 48 years old, has been in power for 14 years, succeeding his father, Hafez al-Assad who had firmly ruled Syria since 1970. The choice of Bashar was already preordained once his elder brother Bassil, initially groomed to take power, died in a car accident in 1994.

Syria: The choice in Syria’s election: vote for Assad or else … | The Guardian

What an irony. Fear of the Syrian government and its many-tentacled security apparatus is even greater now than it was before the revolution began. Why should that be? The government is generously offering “reconciliation” deals across the country, with gracious amnesties like the one that enabled several hundred rebel fighters to leave the exhausted city of Homs with light weapons in early May. Yet anyone who knows Syria from the inside knows full well that the Assad regime’s generosity and grace is to be feared above all else.

Syria: Al-Assad heading for victory in upcoming ‘blood’ elections | Ahram Online

On 3 June, Syrians will go to the polls to vote in presidential elections that are expected to see Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad clinch yet another term. With two seven-year terms already under his belt, the strongman, who has managed to remain in power in despite a three-year war with rebel groups, is sure to win a third victory in the widely criticised elections. With media, state, and security apparatuses working for Al-Assad’s win, the elections are viewed by many as sham, tainted with undemocratic electoral procedures and continued human rights violations. “The state is clearly biased towards Al-Assad,” says Syrian journalist Bassel Oudat, who argues that state institutions have thrown their weight and resources indiscriminately behind the ruler in lieu of his two opponents: former minister Hassan Al-Nouri and parliamentarian Maher Hajjar.

Syria: Presidential Elections to be held on June 3 | Wall Street Journal

Syria will hold presidential elections on June 3, the country’s parliament speaker said Monday, a vote President Bashar al-Assad is likely to contest as his nation sinks deeper into a bloody civil war, now in its fourth year. Mr. Assad has been widely expected to seek another seven-year term in office despite the uprising against his rule. The conflict that has engulfed the nation since March 2011 has killed over 150,000 people and forced one-third of the country’s population from their homes. Parliament Speaker Mohammed Laham said candidates seeking to run for president can register their candidacy from next Tuesday, April 22 until May 1. “I call on the citizens of the Syrian Arab republic, inside and outside [the country] to exercise their right in electing a president,” Laham said from parliament in comments broadcast live on state-run television.

Syria: Opposition rejects presidential poll ‘farce’ | AFP

Syria’s opposition condemned Monday’s announcement of a June 3 presidential election expected to keep Bashar al-Assad in power despite tens of thousands of deaths in an anti-regime revolt since 2011. “The Assad regime’s announcement today that a ‘presidential election’ would be held in June should be treated as a farce and be rejected by the international community,” said the office of opposition National Coalition leader Ahmad Jarba. “With vast parts of Syria completely destroyed by Assad’s air force, army and militias over the last three years, and with a third of Syria’s population displaced internally or in refugee camps in the region, there is no electorate in Syria in a condition to exercise its right to vote,” it said.

Syria: Syrian Parliament Calls on Assad to Postpone Elections | RIA Novosti

The Syrian parliament, the People’s Assembly, appealed on Monday to President Bashar al-Assad to postpone parliamentary elections set for May 7, Syrian official SANA news agency said. The elections were announced under a new constitution passed last month. The Syrian opposition said the vote would be rigged and signaled that it would boycott the poll. “The Assembly appealed to the President of the Republic to consider delaying the elections so that the comprehensive reforms are consolidated, waiting for the outcome of the comprehensive national dialogue and empowering the licensed parties in light of the new parties law,” SANA said.

Syria: Assad sets parliamentary poll date | Al Jazeera

Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian president, has issued a decree stating that parliamentary elections will be held on May 7, even as Kofi Annan, the UN-Arab League envoy to Syria, awaited a response from Damascus on “concrete proposals” he put forward to end the conflict raging in the country. Assad’s move on Tuesday was part of a raft of reforms that he had unveiled to calm a year-long uprising against his rule. His reforms have, however, failed to quell the anti-government protests and not eased in any way the mounting pressure on him to quit. It was unclear whether parliamentary elections were also part of the six-point peace plan presented by Annan during his recent visit to the country.

Syria: Within Atmosphere of Democracy and Free Will, the Syrians Cast Their Votes to Elect Their Representatives at Local Administration Councils | SANA

Within an atmosphere of  democracy and  mass popular participation that reflected the Syrian citizens’ commitment to practice their electoral right with a free will to elect whom they see more fit and qualified to represent them at Local Administration Councils, the Syrians cast their votes to select their representatives who competed for 17588 seats in different Syria cities.

Judge Nazir Kheir Allah, Head of the Elections’ Sub-Committee in Damascus said in a statement to SANA  that the voting process was run within an atmosphere of democracy and transparency, adding “The committee is permanently sitting at the Palace Justice till the final announcement of the results.” He underlined that the electoral process has been run successfully without any breaches, saying that the Committee has provided all facilitations needed to make the election process a success.

Syria: Assad says Syria to hold parliamentary elections in February | Xinhuanet

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said Sunday that he expected to have parliamentary elections conducted in February of 2012 in an interview broadcast by state TV. The solution to the five-month-old crisis in the country is ” political,” al-Assad said, adding that the security situation is better now.

Syria is passing through a transitional stage and there will be a revision of the constitution, he said. He pledged that whoever has committed any crime against any Syrian citizen, whether he was civilian or military, would be held accountable when he is proven to be guilty.