Assad party wins expected majority in Syria parliamentary vote

AFP , Sunday 17 Apr 2016

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad (Photo: Reuters)

Syria's ruling Baath party and its allies won a majority of seats in parliamentary elections last week across government-held parts of the country, the national electoral commission announced late Saturday.

In a widely expected victory in polls labelled a "farce" by Syria's opposition, President Bashar al-Assad's Baath movement and its allies ran under the "National Unity" coalition and won 200 of the parliament's 250 seats.

Syria's national electoral commission published the names of all candidates who had won seats in the April 13 vote, according to Syria's state news agency SANA.

Every candidate on the 200-strong "National Unity" list had won.

"Out of 8,834,994 eligible voters, more than five million cast their votes," commission head Hisham al-Shaar was quote as saying.

A record 11,341 candidates initially sought to run in the elections.

But about 3,500 candidates remained after the rest withdrew "saying they had no chance of winning," al-Shaar said.

The ruling Baath party has governed Syria with an iron first for the past half-century.

The vote is the second parliamentary ballot since the beginning of the war in 2011 -- but the UN says it will not recognise the election.

More than 270,000 people have died since Syria's conflict broke out, and millions more have been forced to flee their homes.

The country's economy has all but collapsed and swathes of territory remain out of government control.

Syria's government and opposition are in Geneva this week for UN-backed peace talks to put an end to the violence.

The talks are aiming to lead to a political transition, a new constitution, and fresh presidential and parliamentary elections by September 2017.

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