Syrians head to polls to elect president as anti-terror fight nears end

Syrians head to polls to elect president as anti-terror fight nears end
Students gesture as they wait outside a polling station before the polls open for the presidential elections, in Damascus, Syria May 26, 2021. REUTERS/Omar Sanadiki

More than 12,100 polling centers opened across Syria at 07:00 a.m. local time (04:00 GMT) on Wednesday and will close at 07:00 p.m. local time (16:00 GMT).

\results are expected to be announced by Friday evening.

On May 20, Syrian refugees and expatriates cast an early ballot in the embassies of their host countries.

Interior Minister Mohammad Khaled al-Rahmoun said that a total of 18 million Syrians at home and abroad were officially eligible to vote in the election.

 

READ ALSO:  Assad says Western and U.S criticism of Syria vote has ‘zero value’

Incumbent President Bashar al-Assad is widely expected to win a fourth seven-year term in a contest with former Deputy Cabinet Minister Abdullah Sallum Abdullah and Mahmoud Ahmad Marei, Head of the Arab Organization for Human Rights.

Assad cast his vote at a polling station in the city of Douma near the capital Damascus.

He told reporters that he did not give any weight to Western opinions about the validity of Syria’s presidential race, saying, “The value of these opinions is zero.”

In the 2014 poll, Assad secured almost 89 percent of the votes on a turnout of over 73 percent.

Interior Ministry has formed “rooms of operations” to follow up the election’s progress, deal with complaints and ensure its safety, Syria’s official SANA news agency reported.

Upon an invitation by the Syrian Parliament, delegations from the legislatures of “friendly and brotherly countries” such as Iran and Iraq traveled to Syria to help inspect the vote, the report added.

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