Middle East

Syrian voices on the nation’s presidential vote

A Syrian man accompanied of his children casts his ballot during the presidential election on June 3, 2014 at a polling station in Damascus. (AFP PHOTO/ LOUAI BESHARA)

Syrians voted Tuesday in a presidential election that is all but guaranteed to hand Bashar Assad another seven-year term. Here is a series of Syrians offering their thoughts on the poll:

“Of course I did not go [vote]. I boycott all kinds of elections. I am 60 now and never voted in my life. I will only vote in elections when I know that my vote has a value. These results are known in advance.” – Mohammad Saleh, an anti-government activist in the central city of Homs.

“He [Assad] is my leader and I love him. ... With the leadership of Bashar, my country will return to safety. This conflict will be resolved because he will have more legitimacy.” – Uday Jurusni, a student in Damascus who voted using a pin to prick his own finger to draw blood.

“Today Syrians are recording their free will in free elections, transparent and plural. ... The axis of enemies will see that they have failed, and they have reached a blocked path. ... Today begins the political solution to the Syria crisis.” – Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem.

“The least we can say about these elections is that they are black comedy. They have no value and no one will recognize them no matter what North Korea and Iran think about it.” – Muhieddine Lathkani, a London-based Syrian opposition figure, referring to two of Assad’s allies.

“People ask me if I have a chance of winning and I say the victory is for the nation.” – Presidential candidate Hassan al-Nouri.

“These elections are not only illegitimate, but the regime is carrying out an internal and external act of deception to appear as if it is holding elections.” – Ahmad Ramadan, a senior member of the Western-backed opposition group, the Syrian National Coalition.

“It’s well known: He [Assad] will return the country to safety. He’s the best to do it. ... The government will see that we are behind them, so it will be stronger.” – Muataz Haqqi, 40, a technician in Damascus who voted early before starting work.

“We came here to vote to show them [Westerners] how democracy exists in Syria. The Western countries are claiming that they are practicing democracy so we came here to vote to show and teach them how democracy could be.” – George Saadeh, a resident of Bab Touma, an overwhelmingly Christian district of Damascus.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on June 04, 2014, on page 8.




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