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Hariri: Syria poll "farce," must end Assad spectacle

Former Prime Minister Saad Hariri speaks to journalists in the Hague, Thursday, Jan. 16, 2014. (The Daily Star/Dalati Nohra, HO)

BEIRUT: Former Prime Minister Saad Hariri Thursday slammed the Syrian election as a “farce,” saying the world must come together to end what he described it as the phenomenon of Bashar Assad.

“This election was a farce. It was dark, fabricated, bloody, abhorrent and all of the things that senior officials have described it as,” Hariri said in a statement.

Assad was declared the winner of Tuesday’s presidential election in a landslide, capturing 88.7 percent of the vote.

The Supreme Constitutional Court said the turnout for the vote, which took place only in regime-held areas of the war-ravaged country, was 73.42 percent.

Hariri, one of Assad’s main critics in Lebanon, said only the Syrian president’s allies rejoiced at the victory.

“A few ... of Bashar's partners in death and destruction welcomed the election and fired celebratory gunfire. Other than that, there was an unprecedented consensus that the world had witnessed the worst practice of democracy in history,” he said.

“The world witnessed a democratic lie never seen [before] even in the mightiest of dictatorships ... What human mind can tolerate such a lie that 74 percent of Syrians took part in the election?”

Russia said Thursday that observers had found the presidential election, in which Assad retained power, fair, free and transparent.

“The Syrian people need a global effort to root out the phenomenon of Bashar from political existence ... [and] an international resolution to end the project of destruction in Syria,” he said.

"The survival of Bashar equals war, terrorism and destruction in Syria ... the time has come to stop this tragic masquerade,” Hariri said, urging the world to put an end to the four-year crisis in Syria.

Meanwhile, Progressive Socialist Party leader MP Walid Jumblatt ridiculed the Syrian presidential election, saying the world should learn from such a display of “democracy.”

“What a glorious election that radiated rays of liberty and released a smell of pure democracy. It represented a roadmap for the people of this earth to learn the art of electing and voting, and benefit from it,” Jumblatt said in a statement.

Jumblatt quoted Syrian author Abd al-Rahman al-Kawakibi as saying: "At that moment when he is sitting on his throne and placing his crown on his head, the tyrant sees himself as a human who just became God."

“With the votes of the 200,000 who were killed, the 8 million who are now displaced, the political prisoners and the missing, the Syrian regime could have produced better results with this amazing election ... unprecedented even in the greatest democracies known to man,” Jumblatt, once an ally of Assad, said.

“If it wasn't for some debris in Homs, some destruction in Aleppo and a few cut off roads in Idlib, residents of these towns could have been able to renew forever their pledge to the president,” he added.

“If it wasn't for some barrel bombs and chemical attacks here and there, residents of Gouta could have shown the West how to organize election polls.”

 

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