Syria’s election legitimacy a matter of international debate

A Syrian national living in Beirut casts his vote holding a Syrian national flag with Syria's President Bashar al-Assad's picture on it at the Syrian Embassy in Yarze. (File photo: Reuters)

The legitimacy of Syria’s presidential elections, which resulted in a landslide victory for President Bashar al-Assad, has become a subjective matter internationally, depending on a nation’s position on the Syrian conflict.

Assad was competing against two virtually unknown candidates for the country’s presidency, and secured 88.7 percent of votes, announced by Parliamentary Speaker Mohammad al-Laham on Wednesday.

Legitimate

Russia, a strong ally of Syria, said Thursday that observers found the election to be fair, free and transparent, criticizing nations and parties that denounced the vote, Reuters reported.

“Moscow sees the vote as an important event that safeguards the continued functioning of state institutions in Syria,” Alexander Lukashevich, the Foreign Ministry spokesman said.

Similarly, Iran urged international nations to respect the will of the voters, who have secured Assad a seven-year term, Agence France-Presse reported.

“Iran insists on respect for the vote of the Syrian people as they are the only ones entitled to decide their political future,” Iran’s Foreign Ministry said.

Iran and Russia sent observers to monitor Syria’s election held on Tuesday.

Iran has strongly supported Assad, providing both money and weapons since the uprising against his regime erupted in March 2011.

Illegitimate

Syria’s opposition vowed to continue its revolt against Assad, saying his election win was illegitimate.

“The Syrian National Coalition reaffirms that this election is illegitimate and does not represent the Syrian people,” it said in a released statement.

The election was held only in government-controlled areas.

The U.S., UK, France and Germany were among countries who deligitimized the election.

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Last Update: 13:43 KSA 16:43 - GMT 13:43
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