Syria bars 'unofficial refugees' from voting in presidential election

The Telegraph
Fecha de publicación: 
27 Abr 2014

Syrians who fled their war-torn country via unofficial crossings will be barred from voting in next month's presidential elections, the country's electoral commission chief said on Monday.

"Syrians who left Syria illegally do not have the right to vote in host countries," Hisham Shaar was quoted as saying by pro-regime newspaper Al-Watan on Monday.

Some 88 percent of registered Syrian refugees in Lebanon - now home to more than a million people who fled Syria's brutal war - entered the tiny Mediterranean country via official crossings, according to the UN.

However, most of those who fled to Turkey and Iraq did not go through government-controlled crossings.

Mr Shaar said: "Electoral law authorises Syrians who reside abroad legally to vote."


"Syrian territory is open to all Syrian citizens who wish to exercise their right to vote, especially those living in neighbouring countries," he added.

Syria's opposition and the West have slammed the June 3 vote as a "farce" and a "parody".

The vote will be held despite a raging war that has killed more than 150,000 people in three years, and forced nearly half the population to flee their homes.

The conflict began after President Bashar al-Assad's government unleashed a brutal crackdown against a peaceful protest movement demanding political change.

Assad declared on Monday he will seek re-election in June, defying calls from his opponents to step aside and allow a political solution to end three years of devastating civil war stemming from protests against his rule.

Assad formally submitted his nomination to Syria's constitutional court to stand in an election which his Western and Arab foes have already dismissed as a parody of democracy amid the turmoil of Syria's conflict.

He is the seventh person to nominate himself in what is theoretically Syria's first multi-candidate presidential vote, but none of his rivals are expected to mount a serious challenge and end four decades of Assad family rule.

The announcement was made in parliament by speaker Mohammad al-Laham, who read out Assad's formal submission to the country's constitutional court.


Josie Ensor