Voting continues in Syria

Opposition politicians dismiss two-day parliamentary poll as a "pointless" exercise.

    The ruling Baath party is guaranteed 131 seats, or 52 percent of the total [AFP]

    Abdel-Azim was alluding to the fact that of the 250 parliamentary seats available, 167 are reserved for the ruling National Progressive Front (NPF) coalition, led by president Bashar al-Assad's Baath party. The party itself is guaranteed 131 seats, or 52 percent of the total.

    Familiar winner

    The other 83 seats are allocated to so-called independent candidates that are "close to the authorities," according to Abdel-Azim.

    "The NPF will come out the winner", he said, as it has done in all organised elections since 1973.

    The official SANA news agency, which also reported that 2,500 candidates were standing for the 250 seats in the assembly.

    The US dismissed the elections as a useless exercise.

    However, an official Syrian newspaper said Damascus had never needed "democratic" advice from abroad.

    The election is the second since al-Assad took over power in 2000 from his father.

    Voting was slow on Sunday indicating residents may be split on whether the election, totally lacking in suspense for most people, would bring any change.

    The vote was taking place "in total freedom and transparency", SANA said, without giving turnout figures for the first day.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Double standards: 'Why aren't we all with Somalia?'

    Double standards: 'Why aren't we all with Somalia?'

    More than 300 people died in Somalia but some are asking why there was less news coverage and sympathy on social media.

    The life and death of Salman Rushdie, gentleman author

    The life and death of Salman Rushdie, gentleman author

    The man we call 'Salman Rushdie' today is not the brilliant author of the Satanic Verses, but a Picassoesque imposter.

    The Beirut Spy: Shula Cohen

    The Beirut Spy: Shula Cohen

    The story of Shula Cohen, aka The Pearl, who spied for the Israelis in Lebanon for 14 years.