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PoliticsMiddle East

Syria election: Bashar Assad wins 4th term

May 27, 2021

Assad has won another seven-year term with a vote share of 95.1%. The rather predictable official results are unlikely to quell criticism from the West.

Syria's President Bashar al-Assad
The official tally gave Assad 95.1% of the voteImage: SANA/REUTERS

Syrian President Bashar Assad won a fourth term in office with 95.1% of votes, the country's parliament speaker announced in a live conference on Thursday.

Hammoud Sabbagh also said voter turnout was 78.66%.

The Syrian government's official Twitter account posted: "The Syrians had their say. Bashar al-Assad wins the presidential elections of the Syrian Arab Republic after obtaining 95.1% of the votes inside and outside Syria."

The landslide victory grants Assad another seven-year term in office in the war-torn country.

Assad's government claimed the election showed Syria was still functioning normally despite the decade-old conflict, which has killed hundreds of thousands of people and driven some 11 million people — about half the population — from their homes.

US casts doubts over ballot fairness

US and European officials have questioned the legitimacy of the ballot, saying it violated UN resolutions seeking to resolve the ongoing conflict in Syria. Those officials have also complained over a lack of international monitoring for the election.

Damascus, Syria
Assad supporters took to the streets of Damascus to celebrate his victory.Image: Hassan Ammar/AP Photo/picture alliance

Voting was only possible in areas of the country under government control. Many refugees who have fled the fighting in Syria in recent years were also either unable or unwilling to participate.

Three contenders were allowed to run in the vote, with around four dozen rejected by Syrian authorities. Assad faced symbolic opposition from a former minister of his, Abdullah Salum Abdullah, and a longstanding member of a government-sanctioned opposition group, Mahmoud Ahmad.

jsi/msh (AP, Reuters, dpa)