BEIRUT: Losing presidential candidate Maher Hajjar has offered his congratulations to President Bashar Assad, saying the Syrian people had entrusted him with leading an “Arab social and national liberation movement,” according to SANA.
The state-run news agency said Friday that Hajjar had sent a cable of congratulations to Assad after he received more than 88 percent of the vote in Tuesday’s presidential poll, condemned by many western countries as a “farce.”
Hajjar praised the election’s “unprecedented turnout” as being one of the “most important factors of strength that allows the completion of a comprehensive, expansive national dialogue.”
The Syrian people, he continued, had tasked Assad with safeguarding national stability, fighting terror, and “building a strong, resilient, secular and democratic state, one of resistance [to Israel], and leading an Arab movement of national and social liberation.”
Hajjar came in third in the race with 3.2 percent of the vote, behind Abdullah Nouri, who received 4.3 percent.
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on June 07, 2014, on page 10.