President Bashar Al Assad has secured a landslide victory in a wartime election that was condemned as a sham by his opponents but demonstrated his tenacious hold on power after three years of brutal civil war.
Parliamentary speaker Mohammad Al Laham said Assad secured 88.7 per cent of votes cast in the election, which was held mainly in the central and western parts of the country, where his forces hold sway.
“I declare the victory of Dr Bashar Hafez Al Assad as president of the Syrian Arab Republic with an absolute majority of the votes cast in the election,” Laham said in a televised address from his office in the Syrian parliament.
Even before he spoke, celebratory gunfire and fireworks erupted in Damascus in anticipation of the news. Three people were killed in the capital and 10 were wounded by the gunfire, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group said.
Nearly an hour after the announcement, heavy shooting could still be heard, despite an appeal by the victorious Assad that “joy and enthusiasm” could not justify the danger caused by the celebratory fire… see more