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Friday 22 August 2014

Assad 're-elected with 89% of vote'

Published 04/06/2014 | 17:47

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Syrian soldiers celebrate Bashar Assad's presidential re-election in Damascus (AP)

President Bashar Assad has been re-elected by a landslide in Syria, capturing almost 89% of the vote, the country's parliament speaker says.

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Jihad Laham said Assad's two challengers, Hassan al-Nouri and Maher Hajjar, won 4.3% and 3.2% respectively.

The Supreme Constitutional Court said turnout was 73.42%.

Yesterday's vote was only held in government-controlled areas and the opposition has denounced the election amid Syria's civil war as a farce.

Assad's victory was always a foregone conclusion, despite the presence of other candidates on the ballot for the first time in decades.

The win boosts his support base and provides further evidence that Assad has no intention of relinquishing power

Earlier, US secretary of state John Kerry sharply criticised the vote as "a great big zero" and said it cannot be considered fair "because you can't have an election where millions of your people don't even have an ability to vote".

"Nothing has changed from the day before the election and the day after. Nothing," Mr Kerry said during a one-day visit to the Lebanese capital.

"The conflict is the same, the terror is the same, the killing is the same."

Syria's three-year-old conflict, which activists say has killed more than 160,000 people, has left the international community deeply divided - with the US and its allies backing the revolt against Assad, who enjoys the support of Russia and Iran.

Press Association

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