The EU issued a statement on Wednesday saying that the Syrian presidential election on 3 June “cannot be considered as a genuinely democratic vote”.
The statement criticised the restrictions imposed by the Syrian regime that prevented thousands of displaced Syrians or those living in areas controlled by the opposition to take part in the election.
“A flawed electoral law imposed identification requirements that deprived most Syrians living in areas under opposition control of the ability to cast their vote,” the statement said.
It added out that the “law also prevented exiled opposition candidates from standing against President Al-Assad, and blocked access to alternative sources of campaign information.”
Former UN and Arab League special envoy Lakhdar Brahimi added his criticism of “holding such an election in a country in the midst of a civil war, and urged Al-Assad to refrain from seeking re-election as it would jeopardise the political process that had started with Geneva I”.
The statement expressed disappointment that: “The regime has rejected the Geneva Communique as the basis for political transition and has continued with military operations, leading to more than 150,000 deaths, 6.5 million internally displaced persons and 2.5 million refugees.”
“Any elections in Syria should only take place within the framework of a genuine political process agreed by the international community,” it added.
The statement concluded: “The EU thus considers that these elections are illegitimate and undermine the political efforts to find a solution to this horrific conflict,” calling upon the Syrian regime to re-engage in genuine political negotiations that could lead to new conditions allowing for a real democratic expression of the will of the Syrian people.