Syria slams EU criticism of election

The EU has described Tuesday’s poll as ‘illegitimate’ while the Syrian opposition called it a ‘farce’

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The Syrian government condemned on Saturday the European Union’s criticism of its presidential election, calling it a “violation” of national sovereignty, according to Agence France-Presse.

The EU has described Tuesday’s poll, which saw President Bashar al Assad secure nearly 90 percent of the vote, as “illegitimate”.

The comments amounted to “a flagrant violation of international law, which stipulates respect of the sovereignty of states and non-interference in their affairs,” the foreign ministry said.

“The EU’s position is contrary to basic principles of democracy and respect for the right of peoples to elect their leaders and decide their future at the ballot box,” the ministry added.

Assad, who was elected to a new seven-year term, was widely expected to win in an election that the Western-backed opposition called “a farce.”

Voting took place only in government-controlled areas and came despite three years of a brutal civil conflict which has killed more than 162,000 people.

Meanwhile, Assad’s backers, including Russia and Iran, praised the vote and insisted that it showed popular support for the president.