Bashar-Al-Assad, a 55-year-old trained ophthalmologist won with 88 percent of votes in 2014. He was first elected in a referendum in 2000 after the death of his father Hafiz-Al-Assad. His father ruled Syria for 30 years. Elections were hold in state districts on Wednesday. State media showed long queues at polling stations. War-torn Syrians elected Assad again for a fourth term in general elections with 95 percent votes. Speakers announced on Thursday that Assad had received 95.1 percent of the votes.
Opposing him were former State Ministers Abdallah Salloum Abdallah and Mahmud Merhi. In the run-up to the elections, the United States, Britain, France, Germany and Italy say the elections were neither free nor fair.
Before the election results announced, tens of thousands of Syrians gathered in various cities on Thursday to celebrate. They were waving Syrian flags and carrying photos of Assad. Giant election posters glorifying Assad grew in two-thirds of the country under his control before preparations were made for election. Some dance and beat drums. People in Tartus province gathered on the outskirts of the city to celebrate. Thousands of other Syrians gathered in the coastal city of Latakia and on Umayyad Square in the capital Damascus. Celebrations also took place in Aleppo and Sweida in southern Syria.
On the other hand, In rebel-held northwest Syria hundreds took to the streets in protest on Wednesday. They said, “There is no legitimacy for Assad and his election”.
Assad promised to control Syrian economy falling
The controversial decades-long civil war killed more than 388,000 people, displaced millions and destroyed the country’s infrastructure. More than 80 percent of the population live in poverty and the Syrian pound has fallen against the dollar, causing rapid inflation.
Assad’s campaign slogan, “Hope Through Work,” triggers the colossal reconstruction needed to rebuild the country, which will cost billions of dollars.
The voting is taking place against the backdrop of the lowest violence since the outbreak of war in Syria in 2011, with the economy in free fall.
The UN envoy to Syria, Geir Pedersen, noted that the vote was not conducted as part of a political transition stipulated in Security Council Resolution 2254, which regulates free and fair elections. Syrians elected Assad but it’s not like the free elections. “What is needed is a political solution led by Syria, supported by the United Nations, and supported by constructive international diplomacy,” he said.