Global Independent Analytics

Assad holds elections despite peace talks in Geneva

Syrian regime ignores the war, holds parliamentary elections despite widespread criticism

Hugh Naylor for The Washington Post reports: Even as peace talks were scheduled to resume Wednesday in Geneva, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad appeared to be charting his own course. He instead made public an appearance of him voting for controversial parliamentary elections denounced as a farce by the opposition.

By doing this, Assad clearly demonstrated that despite U.N.-backed peace negotiations are at its second round in Geneva; he still has no plans to withdraw his candidacy and definitely is going to make use of the elections in order to gain legitimacy. The controversial voting, which takes place only in government-controlled areas of the country, is boycotted by Assad’s opponents while his administration demands it is constitutional and in no way is connected to the current peace talks in Geneva.

Naylor continues: “A key demand for the opposition delegation to the Geneva talks is that Assad exit power to make way for a transitional authority with full executive powers. Wednesday’s parliamentary vote in Syria may also be viewed as a snub to Russia, an important ally of Assad that intervened militarily in the Syrian conflict last year against the rebellion.”

Some say that his little intention to leave the power anytime soon was evident two years ago, when he won Syria’s first presidential elections by a landslide. Although Russian intervention along with Shiite military forces has helped Assad strengthen his position in the region, the President does not seem to yield to a political settlement. He has already demonstrated his stance firmly dismissing key parameters of a U.N. Security Council resolution unanimously adopted in December – and even backed by Russia – that calls for a transitional government and elections within 18 months. Instead of that, Assad’s administration undermined a partial cease-fire agreement that was concluded in February.

 

By Stefan Paraber for GIA.

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