Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was re-elected for another term of 7 years in a landslide victory on 4th June, 2014, in the midst of a bloody three year old uprising against his rule that left the country in shambles. Syria’s Parliament Speaker, Jihad Lahan, announced the final results of the elections, with Assad garnering 88.7% votes and emerging as the clear winner with Damascus erupting into celebrations along with various other parts of Syria. The voter turnout, as reported by the Supreme Constitutional Court was 73.42%.
The rest of the world saw the election results for what they were, a clear faith in Assad and a resounding cry for the end of civil unrest. While it is true that an election during such a large scale civil unrest isn’t ideal but few Governments or media outlets doubted the fairness as there were no strong allegations of fraud.
This is, however, a stark contrast to what the USA is trying to portray about the electoral victory of Assad. US President Obama’s Secretary of State, John Kerry scoffed at the elections in Syria, calling them meaningless and adding that a nation can’t have an election where millions of people don’t have the ability to vote. This comes after a very strong statement by Obama in the February of 2012 saying that Assad’s days are numbered and thus supporting the rebels and riling them up against the ‘tormentors’ and ‘oppressors’ in Syria.
The results of the election weren’t a surprise to anyone familiar with Syrian domestic politics. According to Russian media, Assad won as he had never lost the support of his core constituencies along with having a weak opposition which was unable to present a cohesive front.Perhaps the deepest truth the Syrian elections exposed is that, were it not for the US and its allies, the war in Syria would have long ago ended, and tens of thousands of lives spared. Millions of refugees would not be homeless.
Ultimately the elections proved that the catastrophic war in Syria is not the will of the Syrian people. Many likely voted in favour of Assad simply to show the world that they don’t support the rebels — that they want an immediate end to the insane war that has nearly destroyed an entire nation. The question is will Obama listen or will the US continue to undermine the importance of the Syrian elections, being in line with their consistently out of touch perspective with the situation, showing no signs of stopping, even after most Syrians voted for peace.
About the Author
Sonakshi is a first year law student at Symbiosis Law School, Pune. She completed her schooling from CJM Convent St. Anthony’s Junior College, Agra, where she was the Head Girl of the student council. Her interests include reading, writing and debating and she enjoys good music, appreciates humour, thrives on sarcasm and generally annoys the hell out of her friends (that last bit is unintentional, well most times anyway). Currently, she is experiencing and surviving through the first year of law school and is extremely excited about the opportunity to share her views on the platform provided by Model Governance Foundation.