Syrian Dictator Bashar al-Assad Wins Fourth Term in an Election Many Say is a Illegitimate

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has won his fourth seven-year term with 95.1% of the votes, Parliamentary Speaker Hammouda Sabbagh announced in a live conference on May 27.

“Bashar Al-Assad wins the elections for the presidency of the Syrian Arab Republic after obtaining 13 million and 540 thousand and 860 votes, or 95.1 percent of the votes of the electorate inside and outside Syria,” the government said on Twitter.

The voter turnout for the election, which was held in government-controlled areas and in some Syrian embassies abroad, was at 78.66%, according to Sabbagh.

Al-Assad’s victory lengthens his family’s rule on the war-torn country to nearly six decades. He has been president since 2000 and succeeded his late father Hafez, who ruled for 30 years.

Syria’s opposition called the election results a “continuation of tyranny” while European countries and the United States called the election “illegitimate.”

Syrian Negotiation Commission Spokesperson Yahya al-Aridi said that the election displayed “contempt to the Syrian people.”

“It’s a decision by the government, aided by Russia and Iran, to kill the political process,” the spokesperson said.

In a joint statement before the vote, foreign ministers from France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, and the U.S. said that the election would “neither be free nor fair” and described it as “fraudulent,” claiming that it violated resolutions by the United Nations.

“We support the voices of all Syrians, including civil society organizations and the Syrian opposition, who have condemned the electoral process as illegitimate,” the statement said on May 26, pointing out the lack of international monitoring for the election.

“For an election to be credible, all Syrians should be allowed to participate, including internally displaced Syrians, refugees, and members of the diaspora, in a safe and neutral environment,” the statement further said.

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