Bashar Assad has won a landslide victory in the Syrian presidential poll with 88.7 percent of the vote, according to the parliament speaker. The victory will secure him a third term in office amidst a bloody civil war.
A total of 10.2 million people voted for Assad, parliament speaker Mohammad Laham said on Wednesday. The voter turnout stood at 73.42 percent.
Why did Assad win with such a strong mandate from Syrian citizens, especially since the narrative out of MSM paints him as a despot?
The answer is actually quite simple as this Op-Ed piece from Sharmine Narwani explains…
1) The president never lost the support of his core constituencies – the Syrian armed forces, the government and business elite, the major cities, the minorities (Christians, Druze, Alawites, Shia etc.) and secular Sunni (most of the 3 million members of the Baath Party are Sunni).
2) The opposition was fundamentally unable to present a cohesive front and a common political platform – this includes both domestic and external opponents – let alone rally behind a single candidate.
This is why, if Syrian National Coalition (SNC) President Ahmad Jarba himself were running against Assad in verifiably-fraud-proof elections, he would lose.
Jarba is, of course, the Syrian candidate that most Western nations and many Arab League member states have rallied behind – even though he received only 55 Syrian votes to gain this unusual ‘legitimacy’.
Assad will likely garner millions of votes, but those nations insisting on Syrian ‘democracy’ and ‘legitimacy’ are happy to hand over Syria’s embassies to a man with 55 votes. Is this a farce? Or is it a parody?
“How can you hold elections during a war/conflict/humanitarian crisis?” these opponents demand. None, of course, objected when elections were held in US- and NATO-occupied Afghanistan and Iraq, under the auspices and direction of the occupying army. Some elections enjoy ‘legitimacy’ just because we say so, apparently.
For a bit of unexpected comic relief, Jarba penned a Washington Post opinion piece on Monday in which he invokes former US President Abraham Lincoln. Did nobody tell Jarba that Lincoln was re-elected during the most brutal domestic conflict in American history – that thing called the Civil War?
We are sure that the west will condemn the elections and criticise the entire process from head to toe as a sham, given that the man they have been trying to replace for 3 years has won big. This means no Saudi oil pipelines to Europe will be passing through Syria anytime soon.
Before the western media begins its “Syrian illegitimate and illegal” election news cycle some historical context may help deter the critics and bring more clarity to a complex situation…continuing Jarba’s Lincoln opinion piece…
In fact, 11 US states (including important ones like Texas, Virginia and Florida) where Lincoln barely received votes, got so upset when he was first elected they decided to leave the Union. Lincoln fought a war to defeat those ‘rebels’ and went on to be immortalized on the $5 bill.
Another criticism lobbied by opponents is that Syrians outside of government-controlled areas can’t vote. Well, that’s true, but this is because rebels won’t allow it. However, it should be noted that most of the millions of displaced Syrians have fled these rebel-controlled areas and are now mostly in government-controlled areas, where they can cast votes.
Doesn’t that still disenfranchise potentially millions of Syrians who won’t be able to vote? Yes, possibly. But that didn’t stop these same Western countries from declaring the recent Ukrainian elections a resounding success, even though there was virtually no voting in the Donetsk and Lugansk Regions.
The first US presidential election in 1789 didn’t even count the votes of North Carolina, New York and Rhode Island, even though the Union was only made up of 13 states at the time. George Washington ran uncontested and most of the votes were not cast by American citizens, but by unelected delegates. And he too has been immortalized on US currency –on the dollar bill.
Let’s hope that Syria can now move forward to end the Civil War that has claimed over 150,000 lives, and rebuild its beaten and battered country.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.