Syria holds elections as violence rages

A Syrian woman arrives at a polling station in Damascus to cast her vote in the parliamentary elections on May 7, 2012. (AFP PHOTO/JOSEPH EID)

By Mariam Karouny, The Daily Star, Lebanon

DAMASCUS: Syrians voted in a parliamentary election on Monday touted by authorities as a milestone of political reform but dismissed by the opposition as a facade while people are killed every day in an anti-government uprising.

Violence persisted across the country between forces loyal to President Bashar Assad and rebels fighting to end four decades of dynastic rule by his family.

“All of this is a theater show. The candidates are businessmen and pawns of strong people in power,” one man, who asked to remain anonymous, told Reuters near a polling station in the capital.

In northern Idlib province, residents reported gunfire and explosions and in the city of Hama rebels and soldiers clashed early on Monday, the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

In the eastern province of Deir al-Zor, three dissidents were killed in a dawn raid by government troops, the Observatory added, underlining the challenge of holding a credible poll and complicating the task of U.N. observers monitoring a ceasefire declared on April 12.

Unlike autocratic leaders in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Yemen who were toppled by the Arab Spring, Assad has kept enough support among the military and his Alawite sect, which dominates the army and security apparatus, to withstand the 14-month-old revolt

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(The Daily Star :: Lebanon News ::

Categories: Asia, Syria, Uncategorized

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