BEIRUT

Middle East

Syria extends presidential polls by 5 hours

People cast their ballots near portraits of the candidates, including Syria's President Bashar Assad, during a presidential election at a polling centre in Damascus June 3, 2014. REUTERS/Khaled al-Hariri

DAMASCUS: Syrian state television says voting in the country's presidential election has been extended by five hours because of "high turnout at the ballot box."

The Supreme Judicial Electoral Committee says the polls will now close at midnight (2100GMT, 5 p.m. EDT) instead of at 7 p.m. (1600GMT) as originally scheduled.

Syrians turned out in droves Tuesday to vote in an election that is all but certain to hand President Bashar Assad another seven-year term.

The balloting is taking place in the middle of Syria's civil war, and voting is only being held in government-controlled areas.

The opposition and its Western allies have dismissed the vote as a farce.

 

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