Voting begins in war-torn Syria; Bashar al-Assad expected to win

When the elections in Syria confirm the President as the duly elected lawful leader what then?

image credit:  Reuters/Sharif Karim, source

CNN
By Jethro Mullen
3 June 2014

Polls for the Syrian presidential election opened Tuesday against the backdrop of a bloody and protracted civil war.

The outcome is hardly in doubt: President Bashar al-Assad is almost guaranteed to emerge victorious in a vote that opposition groups and many Western countries say has been be rigged from the start.

Syria isn't renowned for holding free and fair elections.

When al-Assad came to power 14 years ago, he ran unopposed, securing more than 99% of votes, according to state media. Seven years later, he won again with a similarly mountainous share of the vote. His father, Hafez al-Assad, ruled Syria with an iron fist for 29 years before he died in 2000.

The Syrian regime says the election has to be held under the new constitution and shows the country is moving forward.

But some analysts say the purpose of this week's vote, which U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon urged the Syrian government not to hold, is to send a message to al-Assad's opponents, both in Syria and abroad.

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