Syrian regime declares Assad winner of 'presidential election'

By Ethem Emre Ozcan

ANKARA (AA) – Syrian regime leader Bashar al-Assad was declared the winner of “presidential elections” Thursday that were held with nonfunctional candidates.

The results of the showpiece elections were announced by the regime's news agency SANA.

According to SANA, the regime's parliament speaker, Hamouda Sabbagh, announced to the press that Assad won with 95.1% of the votes.

He claimed the voter turnout was around 78%, while more than half of the nation’s people cannot go to the polls.

Stating that Assad received 13.5 million votes, Sabbagh said Mahmoud Ahmad Marei, one of the show candidates, received 3.3% or 470,276 of the ballots.

Assad has been the victor in every election since assuming power in 2000 as heir to his father, Hafez al-Assad.

The decision to hold elections was made despite an ongoing military conflict, the lack of a political solution, the 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 regime control.

Syria has been mired in a civil war since early 2011, when the regime cracked down on pro-democracy protests with unexpected ferocity.

Over the past decade, around half a million people have been killed and more than 12 million had to flee their homes.