Citizens of the Syrian Arab Republic have flocked to polling stations in large numbers, in order to participate in the 2020 parliamentary elections. In total, 1,658 candidates contend for the 250 seats of the People’s Council.
At 7:30 in the morning local time, over 7,400 polling stations opened across the country. This included the former rebel stronghold of Eastern Ghouta and even the liberated southern countryside of Idlib province, bordering territories still held by foreign-backed terrorist forces.
Portraits of all candidates have been on display across Damascus for weeks, with many contenders running on a platform of curbing inflation, renovating destroyed infrastructure and combating corruption in the country that has been ravaged by nine years of war and US invasion.
This elections marks the third legislative poll since the start of the Syrian Civil War in 2011. Despite the extraordinary hardship, the Syrian Arab Republic nevertheless organised the planned elections in both 2012 and 2016, with the latter having a turnout of over 57.5% despite the raging conflict.
The 2020 elections, which normally were due in April, were postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and are taking place just weeks after a new series of exceptionally tough US sanctions as part of the so-called Caesar Act.
Despite the economic hardship resulting from the unilateral imperialist sanctions, and the continuing threat of terrorism, voter turnout has reported to be quite high. The polling stations even extended the voting time by a total of four hours, in order to ensure that voters could exercise their democratic rights. Reports also claim that Syrian residents of US-occupied territories in north-eastern Syria, in which it was impossible for Syria to organise polling, drove in caravans down to territories under full control of the Syrian Arab Republic in order to cast their votes.
Syrian Minister of Foreign Affairs Walid al-Muallem addressed the matter in a statement on June 23.
“Syrian people are accustomed to unilateral sanctions, which have been imposed on them since 1978 under various pretexts. Syrians should try to use the latest sanctions as an opportunity to advance the national economy, achieve self-sufficiency, and deepen our cooperation with friends and allies.”
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