It's Election Day In Syria. The Outcome Is All But Guaranteed


You know authoritarian governments around. The world embraced the forms of democracy. Even when they don't manage the substance. Today is election day in syria. President bishara lawsuit is on the ballot but his regime does not tolerate real opposition. These elections do show. Who's in charge. Npr's ruth sherlock is here to discuss out work. Say they're ruth. Hi okay so we have this. War torn country. What does the election look like. They're well in. Damascus says these huge posters of president. Assad all over the place you know there's been dinners and dances held to support his election and lots of these been held by businessmen and others who see this as a chance to kind of ingratiate themselves with the regime. That controls every part of life in syria steve. I spoke last night to a syrian businessmen in damascus. Syria doesn't allow free speech rights groups of showing that which is part of the reason why this person doesn't want to be named people inside syria right now. Believe that the best solution for them is the current president. So you'll see lots of people they want this election to be done and let's start focusing on building better syria and you know this does reflect the views. A lot of a lot of people are now serious. Economy has been destroyed. So many people's lives have been wrecked in the war. People just want stability even if that means keeping the regime it's revealing. I suppose that someone can't give their name even to tell you that they're voting for a shower all outside How much trouble do actual people in the opposition. Get in well you know the regime still imprisons and tortures people. I said does have opposition. This election he is up against two candidates. One is seen as being pro government. The other is part of the kind of sanctioned regime sanctioned opposition and the issue here though is that regardless of how legitimate candidate might be. They've only been given ten days to campaign so hardly anyone knows who they are Donny mukisa syrian british journalist and analyst in damascus. And he tells me. These candidates haven't had the funds or time to mount any kind of challenge syrians chosen to remain in the country. Either through opportunity or through loyalties at anyway because there's no real alternatives. The assad family has ruled syria with this iron grip for five decades. This election is really more about syrians. Sharing failty to this authoritarian regime. And you know another big problem here is that it's excluding the millions of syrians who live in areas that are still under opposition control. That's about a third of the country. Can you just talk us through the thought process of authoritarian regime in in holding an election with rules. That it's just so obvious that it's not really intellectual. Well this is actually a really important day for the syrian government because it demonstrates its power so you know you have areas like duma gouta on the outskirts of damascus which supported the opposition in the war. They were placed under siege by the government. Hit with airstrikes even reported chemical attacks and now they have posters of president assad up so it's an important moment to project power to its own people and even the western countries have dismissed these elections as a sham the government is hoping that it can project legitimacy in the region and maybe get some regional countries like saudi arabia which is opposed the regime in the war to reopen their embassies. There this is not going to solve serious underlying problems. The economy is in real crisis and the war in. Some parts of the country continued bruce. Thanks for the insight. Thank you. That's npr's ruth sherlock reporting from beirut this message comes from npr sponsor forward the all electric mustang mach e and twelve foot rocket. Take off the rocket launches up into the atmosphere while the all electric pony takes off toward the horizon at full speed visit four dot com for a new perspective on range.

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