By Ethem Emre Ozcan
ANKARA (AA) – A human rights group denounced on Thursday an “illegitimate” decision by the Bashar al-Assad regime to hold presidential elections in the war-ravaged country next month.
Presidential elections that are unilaterally set by the Bashar al-Assad regime are illegal and will destroy the ongoing political process aimed at ending 10 years of civil war, according to a report by the Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR).
The elections will be held in accordance with constitutional articles prepared by the regime in 2012, which are considered ‘illegal" by the opposition, said the report.
It noted that Syrian legislative and judicial bodies are directly under the control of Assad, while candidates for the elections will be determined by the regime's parliament.
“Regime’s election decision contradicts the UNSC resolution 2254, which sets the roadmap for a political solution in Syria,” said the report.
On Sunday, Syria’s People's Assembly, or parliament, set May 26 for presidential elections. According to the official news agency SANA, applications can be submitted to the Supreme Constitutional Court from April 19-28.
Assad has succeeded in all elections since he assumed power in 2000 as heir to his father, Hafez al-Assad, by rates exceeding 88%.
The decision to hold elections came despite the ongoing military conflict, lack of a political solution in sight, failure of negotiations between the opposition and the regime, and the displacement of more than 10 million Syrians either as refugees or internally displaced persons. Moreover, about 40% of the country is not under the control of the regime.
Syria has been in a civil war since early 2011 when the regime cracked down on pro-democracy protests.
Around half a million people have been killed, and more than 12 million had to flee their homes, becoming refugees or internally displaced in the past decade.
*Writing by Zehra Nur Duz in Ankara