Syrian presidential elections held amid disputes

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Anti-Assad Kurdish activists protest against the elections in Qamishli, June 3, 2014. Photo: ARA News

ARA News

Qamishli, Syria – The city of Qamishli, northeast of Syria, witnessed on Tuesday the start of the presidential elections in the polling stations located in the security zone and government departments in the city, while in the Kurdish forces-held areas in Qamishli and its surroundings the electoral ballots were removed in a protest where many activists questioned the legitimacy of holding the elections.

Both Kurdish councils (the Kurdish National Council KNC and the People’s Council of Western Kurdistan) boycotted the elections. This came as many Kurdish youth movements called for demonstrations to condemn holding these elections in the Kurdish areas.

Activists from the city told ARA News that the presidential elections in the city were organized by the Electoral Commission of the Syrian Government in cooperation with the committees of the National Youth Party for Justice and Development and the Arab Socialist Baath Party. While the pro-Assad security forces took the responsibility of protecting the polling stations against any protests. Supporters of President Bashar al-Assad from Arab tribal groups and some Christian organizations gathered in front of the city’s Cultural Center to show their solidarity with Assad and his nomination to a third term.

A governmental employee, who conditioned anonymity, told ARA News he and his colleagues were forced to vote in the elections in order to preserve their jobs and livelihood, although they believe in the illegitimacy of the elections.

Perwin Ibrahim, head of the pro-regime National Youth Party for Justice and Development, told ARA News that the electoral process is going well, although in some centers’ polls were prevented and withdrawn by Kurdish activists.

“We as a party deny such practices, because this is a democratic practice where everyone has the right to vote. We share the country with other forces, although we differ in our views,” Perwin said in an interview with ARA news. “The practices of some Kurdish activists and the Democratic Union Party (PYD) against the electoral process are provocative, especially in a multicultural region composed of Arabs, Kurds, and Christians.”

Jassim Hussein, a resident of Qamishli who votedin favour of Assad, told ARA News that he participated today in the elections and voted “for the unity of Syria and for the Syrian nation”.

Amer Hamo, an anti-Assad activist, stated to ARA News: “We boycotted the ‘bloody elections’ in the city of Qamishli. How could we re-elect Assad and his regime who destroyed the country for three years now? We consider each person involved and vote as a partner in shedding the blood of the Syrian people in general, the Kurds in particular.”

Noteworthy, the Syrian presidential elections started on June 3, in many parts of Syria, including the city of Qamishli amid differing political views between supporters and opponents of the elections, coinciding with continuous bombardment of several areas across the country.

 

Reporting by: Dilshad Mohammed

Source: ARA News

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