Syria uses celebrities to woo election voters
Among them is veteran actor Duraid Lahham, top film and TV actresses Sulaf Fawakherji and Salma al-Masri
In an attempt to woo voters within the crisis-torn country, the Syrian regime has seemingly turned to the country’s top celebrities to promote a high voter turnout at the upcoming presidential elections.
In several campaign clips being promoted by pro-government media outlets on social media, top singers, actors and actresses can be seen saying: "Your vote is your protection" and "your vote is your freedom."
During the videos, the famous faces voice their optimistic views on the presidential elections.
Among them is veteran actor Duraid Lahham, top film and TV actresses Sulaf Fawakherji and Salma al-Masri and pop star Shadi Aswad.
The celebs emphasize the importance of participating in the elections and of practicing the "freedom to choose our president," as singer Aswads put it.
In a clip, Fawakherji says: "We are the people. The protectors of this country (and its) sovereignty and independence. We must vote as it's our right, our duty and our responsibility. Our participation in the elections is a victory for Syria, its past, present and future."
Lahham is filmed saying: “The presidential post was decided upon via a referendum but it (will now be decided) via elections. This allows for democracy in Syria. I hope those eligible (for the post) nominate themselves and that (we) all practice our electoral duty."
A Syrian court said on Sunday it had accepted requests from President Bashar al-Assad and two other candidates to be nominated to run in a presidential election next month.
Assad’s challengers are unlikely to pose a serious threat to the president in the June 3 vote, which his international opponents and the rebels fighting to overthrow him have dismissed as a farce.
Syria’s opposition leaders in exile are barred from standing by a constitutional clause requiring candidates to have lived in the country continuously for 10 years.
The constitution also says candidates must have the backing of 35 members of the pro-Assad parliament, effectively ruling out dissenting voices from the campaign.
Authorities have not said how they will hold the vote in a country where six million people have been displaced and large swathes of territory remain outside government control.
Syria’s conflict started over three years ago as a peaceful protest movement calling for reforms but descended into civil war after a government crackdown.
- Six new candidates for ‘farce’ Syria presidential election
- 1800GMT: Syria calls for presidential elections despite war
- Registration for Syria election starts April 21
- Court accepts Assad’s presidential bid
- Syrian presidential election is Assad’s last mission
- Bashar al-Assad officially submits election bid