South Asia and Beyond

Assad Wins Fourth Term With ‘95.1%’ Of Vote

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has won a fourth term in office with 95.1% of the votes that the Parliament head said saw a 78% turnout or more than 14 million people. Bashar’s father Hafez ruled for 30 years till he died in 2000 and the victory gives the President 7 more years in a fourth term in office. The vote went ahead despite a U.N.-led peace process calling for polling under international supervision and the West led by the U.S. criticising Assad for a vote that wasn’t ‘free or fair’. There was obviously no voting in areas controlled by rebels, terrorist groups and Kurdish-led troops in the north east and north west. An estimated 8 million people live in those areas. Another 5 million are refugees in neighbouring countries. With military involvement of Iran and Russia, Assad has regained about 70% of the country’s territory since the 2011 civil war, but tightening U.S. sanctions, Lebanon’s financial collapse and COVID have hit the economy hard.