The general election in Syria on Sunday, July 19th ended as expected. According to the state news agency Sana, 183 of the 250 seats in the People’s Chamber were won by the ruling Baath party with its allies. They came together to form the “National Unity” alliance. Part of the 67 other seats went to business people who support the current ruler, Bashar al-Assad. Around 1,600 candidates competed, including 200 women.
The election was held only in the government-controlled regions – just under 70 percent of the country’s territory. The turnout was 33.2 percent. In 2016, 57.6 percent of those entitled to vote went to the polls. Millions of Syrian refugees living abroad were not allowed to vote. It was the third election for the People’s Chamber since the beginning of the civil war in 2011. The date had been postponed twice because of the corona pandemic.
The Syrian opposition criticized the election loudly. “The people of Syria had no free right to vote. This was a theatrical performance by the regime.” The German Press Agency (dpa) quoted Syrian Jahia Aridi. He is involved in the United Nations peace talks as a member of the opposition.
The election took place under special conditions. The population (as reported) is suffering from a severe economic crisis. The currency is losing value. Prices are increasing. Essential goods and medicines are scarce. Around 80 percent of Syrians live in poverty, according to the German UN refugee agency.
Foto: tünews INTERNATIONAL; A. A, 28.05.2020