The incumbent Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad, has won a fourth consecutive term in office. The speaker of the Syrian parliament, Hammouda Sabbagh, announced that Assad had won the elections held on Wednesday, May 26, with an overwhelming 95.1% of the votes.
Assad will continue to rule Syria for the next seven years — till 2028. The Syrian government said in a statement that the elections which took place despite multiple western-backed assaults to overthrow the government in the last 10 years and a devastating war to root out active terrorist organizations is evidence of the country’s functioning slowly returning to normal.
Hundreds of thousands have been killed and almost 11 million people displaced and made refugees as a result of the war in the country since 2011.
In a press conference, the parliament speaker said that Bashar al-Assad gained 13,540,860 votes securing 95.1% of the correct votes while Mahmoud Marei got 3.3% votes and finished in second place. Abdallah Salloum Abdallah got 1.5 % votes and finished third.
On Wednesday more than 14 million votes were cast with a voting percentage of 78.64%. That along with close to 4 million additional votes from Syrians living outside the country, took the final vote tally to 18 million.
Iran, Russia and China were among the countries that congratulated the victory of Bashar al-Assad. Iran’s foreign ministry hailed the holding of the elections and the turnout as an “important step in establishing peace, stability and tranquility as well as Syria’s reconstruction and development.” The Russian foreign ministry also welcome al-Assad’s election. It said that western statements calling into question the validity of the election even before it was held was “an element of blatant political pressure on Damascus and another attempt to interfere in the internal affairs of Syria with the aim to destabilize it…“No one has the right to dictate to Syrians when and under what conditions they should elect their head of state,” the foreign ministry said, according to Press TV
The Russian foreign ministry’s remarks were a response to the statement released ahead of the polls by the US, UK, France, Germany and Italy which claimed that the elections would not be free and fair.
The United Nations envoy to Syria noted that the elections were not held under the Security Council Resolution 2254. It is part of the peace plan proposed by the UN which also calls for the drafting of a new constitution and a political resolution to the conflict between the Syrian government and the opposition.