Damascus: Syrian President Bashar Assad was re-elected in a landslide, officials said on Thursday, calling an election a showdown by the illegitimate and the West and his opposition after the start of a fourth seven-year term in the war-torn country. .
Assad’s victory was not in doubt, in an election where officials said 18 million were eligible to vote.
But in a country devastated by a 10-year-old conflict, voting was not held in areas controlled by rebels or Kurdish-led troops.
At least 8 million, mostly displaced, live in those areas of northwest and north-east Syria.
More than 5 million refugees, mostly living in neighboring countries, have largely avoided voting.
US and European officials have also questioned the legitimacy of the election, saying it violates UN resolutions to resolve the conflict, lacks any international oversight, and does not represent all Syrians is.
Syrian parliament’s president, Hammud Sabbagh, announced the final results from Wednesday’s vote.
He said Assad received 95.1 percent of the vote.
He said that on Wednesday, 78.6 percent of the voters voted in the 17-hour election without an independent monitor.
Assad was facing symbolic competition from two candidates, a former minister and a former opposition figure.
Assad won when the country was still ravaged by conflict.
The battle has come to an end but the war is not over.
The economic crisis is becoming acute in a country where more than 80% of the population lives below the poverty line and the local currency is in free fall.
Assad, close allies and government officials are facing widespread Western sanctions, adding to pre-existing sanctions that have increased as the war unfolds.
European and American governments blame Assad and his allies for most of the atrocities of the war.
Celebrations took place in Damascus, the night sky lighted with bullets and fireworks.
Thousands gathered in prominent squares in Damascus and the coastal city of Tartus, waving flags and pictures of Assad.
He said: “With our soul, blood, we protect you Bashar,” and “We choose only three: God, Syria and Bashar.”
A large stage was set up in the capital’s Omayyad Square, with national songs being played to the tune.
A singer appeared on a stage set in Tartus Square, dressed in the Syrian flag.
Almost no one wore a face mask, although Syria is experiencing an increase in cases of coronovirus.
The election is likely to offer little change in conditions in Syria.
While Assad and his allies, Russia and Iran, have been demanding a new seal of legitimacy for the presidency since 2000, their re-election is likely to deepen the rift with the West, as well as give them Russian and Iranian supporters will also be moved closer. As in China.