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Syria: Assad’s Baath party wins majority in parliamentary polls


Syria: Assad’s Baath party wins majority in parliamentary polls

Party of President Bashar al-Assad and allies win 177 seats in 250-member Parliament in vote denounced by opposition.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s party and its allies have won an expected majority of seats in the war-torn country’s parliamentary election, denounced as “theatrical” by the exiled opposition.

The so-called “National Unity” list won 177 seats in the 250-member parliament, the electoral commission said on Wednesday.

Turnout on Sunday stood at 33 percent, down from 57 percent in 2016, according to commission head Samer Zamreeq.

He said any candidate unhappy with the results “is entitled to submit his complaint within three days”.

Millions of people displaced by Syria’s long-running war were not eligible to cast ballots in the poll, which took place amid deepening economic woes.

“Simply put, these are illegitimate elections. The regime chose the candidates, even the independent ones, and they elected them,” Yahya al-Aridi, a member of the opposition committee at UN peace talks in Geneva, was quoted as saying by the dpa news agency.

“The people in Syria did not have the freedom to vote … this was a theatre play by the regime.”  Backed by Russian and Iranian forces, the Damascus government has reconquered much of the territory lost at the beginning of the war but it battles international sanctions and a crumbling economy.

The election, originally scheduled for April, was postponed twice due to the coronavirus pandemic, which has officially infected 540 people and killed 31 in government-held areas.

State media said more than 7,000 polling stations were set up across about 70 percent of the country where the al-Assad government maintains control, including for the first time in former opposition strongholds.

Results came after reruns on Monday in four polling centres in Aleppo province and one in the eastern province of Deir Az Zor the official SANA news agency said.

Many of the 1,658 candidates ran on pledges to tackle sharp inflation and improve infrastructure ravaged by the conflict.

Among the winners was Hussam Qatirji, a businessman under sanctions from the European Union who retained his seat.

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