Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad has won 95.1 per cent of the vote in the Syrian elections that the international community has branded "fraudulent", granting him a fourth seven-year term.
The results that did not surprise many were announced by the head of parliament Hammouda Sabbagh at a news conference yesterday, revealing that over 14 million Syrians participated in the voting which gave the elections a turnout of 78 per cent, higher than the turnout of the US elections last year.
Despite that, only Syrians in regime-controlled areas were given the chance to vote, while those in territory held by the opposition and the Kurdish militias were refused. The candidates were also limited to only Bashar Al-Assad and two other candidates who are largely unknown: Mahmoud Ahmed Marei and the former deputy cabinet minister Abdallah Saloum Abdallah.
With the regime having selected and accepted those candidates, the election was condemned as fraudulent and illegitimate by the Syrian opposition, Turkey, the United States, and some European nations. It also went ahead despite the United Nations having called for the voting to be done under international supervision in order to continue with a peace process and to form a new constitution.
Only delegations from Belarus, Iran, Russia and other "friendly states" and allies invited by Al-Assad officially monitored the election.
There were also numerous incidents of election fraud taking place throughout the polling stations in Syria, with footage online showing scenes of polling officials ticking off Assad's box on behalf of voters whose ID cards they used, and other scenes showing regime soldiers marking dozens of voting papers.
Take a look at how the Syrian Presidential elections being held 👀 pic.twitter.com/MzUdXZaUkc
— Asaad Hanna (@AsaadHannaa) May 27, 2021
According to reports by Reuters, the regime's intelligence services were responsible for organising public rallies in support of Al-Assad, instructing state employees and students to vote, and arranging buses to transport voters to the polling stations.
Following the announcement of Al-Assad's victory, celebrations were held into the night in public squares and roundabouts.
Al-Assad's victory comes as the US warned Gulf states against re-establish ties with the regime. Officials from the Assad government were reported to have made a visit Saudi Arabia earlier this week for the first time since 2011, raising concerns that the elections are furthering the Assad regime's legitimacy in the region.