Russia praises Syrian election, criticises Western reaction

Russia already endorsed the vote, deploying a delegation of lawmakers and Russian electoral officials to monitor the polls.

Russia praises Syrian election, criticises Western reaction

World Bulletin/News Desk

Syrian ally Russia said on Thursday that observers had found the presidential election in which Bashar al-Assad retained power to have been fair, free and transparent, and criticised nations that denounced the vote.

"Moscow sees the vote as an important event that safeguards the continued functioning of state institutions in Syria," Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich told reporters at a briefing.

He said the election was "naturally not 100 percent democratic" due to the conflict in Syria, but that turnout, transparency and the findings of foreign monitors "give us no reason to question the legitimacy of the election".

"Against this background, the ... politicised reaction to the election from some of our international partners cannot fail to cause disillusionment," he said. "It is unacceptable to ignore the views of millions of Syrians."

Syria's parliament speaker said on Wednesday that Assad won 88.7 percent in the election, which was held mainly in areas where his forces hold sway. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry called the election "meaningless" and "a great big zero".

Experts viewed the vote as an attempt by Assad to boost his perceived legitimacy at home and abroad.

But international recognition beyond the scope of a small circle of friends remains unlikely, and the rebels remain a force to be reckoned with at home, said Vladimir Akhmedov of the Institute of Oriental Studies at the Russian Academy of Sciences.

As Assad's long-term political survival looks unlikely, Moscow's continuing alliance with Damascus betrays a lack of a clear game plan for Syria, Akhmedov said.

According to the Moscow Times report, how representative the vote is remains open to debate: The rebels, which control the majority of the Syrian territory, did not allow any polling stations to be set up in their domain. Meanwhile, Assad's forces control most major cities in the country, including Homs and downtown Aleppo, which were retaken in May after bloody infighting.

Russia has given Assad crucial backing during the conflict that has killed 160,000 people, providing arms and blocking Western and Arab-backed efforts to adopt U.N. Security Council resolutions condemn him or threaten him with sanctions.


Güncelleme Tarihi: 05 Haziran 2014, 16:24