Syria: 95% of registered expats voted in election

A Syrian expatriate living in Yemen holds a ballot paper bearing portraits of Syria's upcoming presidential candidates. (AFP)

There has been a large turnout of Syrian expats voting for president in foreign embassies, according to the electoral commission, which said on Saturday that 95 percent of registered expat voters took part in the poll.

Syrians living abroad had cast their ballots last Wednesday, in a vote slammed by the Syrian opposition and its backers as a "farce" and as a "parody of democracy."

"The president of the foreign ministry's central electoral committee said that voting took place in 43 embassies of the Syrian Arab Republic, and the participation rate by registered voters had exceeded 95 percent," state news agency SANA said.

The balloting is widely expected to give President Bashar Assad a third seven-year term in office. He is running up against two other candidates - Maher Abdul-Hafiz Hajjar, 46, and Hassan bin Abdullah al-Nouri, 54, both little-known lawmakers.

Inside the country, Syrians living areas controlled by government forces will vote on June 3. Swathes of the country have fallen out of government control since the outbreak of an uprising against Assad in March 2011.

Those who fled the country's violence through unofficial border crossings were not allowed to participate.

Refugees in Lebanon and Turkey who oppose the Assad regime have protested against the vote, which dissidents see as little more than a show of force by Damascus.

Damascus has said its nationals in countries that back the opposition, including the United Arab Emirates and France, were preventing people from voting.

Syria's deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Muqdad on Saturday accused those countries of "violating all conventions and human rights."

On the eve of the vote, pro-regime newspaper Al-Watan had said more than 200,000 people had registered at 39 Syrian embassies abroad.

There was no official confirmation of the figure by Saturday, but SANA said the results of the expatriate voting would be announced along with the final result of the June 3 election.
 

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:43 - GMT 06:43
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