Elections in Syria amid violence
Legislative elections were held Monday in Syria despite the ongoing violence, as the regime hopes to gain some credibility despite the opposition's call for boycott. While the official Syrian television showed voters voting in areas relatively unaffected by the violence, activists suggested a boycott of the polls is being observed in the rebellious cities.
In Hama, Idleb, Deraa and even in neighborhoods in Damascus, a strike was declared, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (OSHR).
According to Abu Ghazi, an activist in Hama, all markets and shops are closed in protest against the election of "the parliament of Bashar's puppets."
Also during the election day, the blood still flowed - three young men were killed in an ambush by security forces in the region of Deir Ezzor (east of the country), according to OSHR.
The opposition, which demanded the departure of the president, announced that it was not fooled by the regime's attempts to gain legitimacy through the ballot described as "absurd".
"He who bathes in Syrian blood, pushed to the exodus of two million Syrians has no legitimacy to draft a constitution, enact electoral law or call for elections", said Monday the Syrian National Council (SNC), the main opposition coalition, said in a statement.
In Beijing, during a visit of SNC delegation chaired by its chief Burhan Ghalioun, the Chinese authorities, who back Damascus like Russia, had hoped the election would help to "promote the process of reforms in Syria. "
Across the country, 7,195 candidates are vying for 250 parliamentary seats. The new house should adopt a series of reforms promised by the head of state.
Nine new parties were created and approved, thanks to the new Constitution adopted by referendum in February, which removed the article granting the Baath Party, in power since 1963, the leading role in the political life.
The approximately 12,000 polling stations should close at 10:00 p.m. (1900 GMT).
Syrian Information Minister Adnan Mahmoud said Sunday that these laws were a "challenge to the terrorist war" against Syria.
The authorities assured they had taken all necessary measures "to prevent any slippage of security."