There won’t be much need to stay up late to find out the results of the April 13 parliamentary elections in Syria as the outcome is a foregone conclusion, say opposition politicians and independent election experts, who dub next week’s wartime poll a PR stunt.
The elections being held next week in Syria — or at least in government-controlled areas — won’t be nail-biters, they say, and will see the ruling Arab Socialist Ba’ath Party of President Bashar al-Assad and its political allies storm to inevitable victory, thanks to a careful selection of candidates and the fact that the polls will only be held in regime-controlled districts.
French President Francois Hollande has dubbed the elections “provocative" and “totally unrealistic.”
And the main Western-backed political opposition to Assad, the Syrian National Coalition (SNC), has called on Syrians in areas where they can vote, to boycott the polls, arguing the country’s five-year-long civil war won’t be ended “through unilateral projects” but only by a negotiated political transition involving all Syrians.
SNC officials argue the election is an effort by Assad to project a political legitimacy he doesn’t have — part of a bid to rehabilitate his regime in the eyes of the international community.