Syria's Assad re-elected for 4th term
Bashar al-Assad has been re-elected for a fourth term as president of war-ravaged Syria, official results showed, despite Western accusations the polls were "neither free nor fair". The controversial vote extending Assad's stranglehold on power was the second since the start of a decade-long civil conflict that has killed more than 388,000 people, displaced millions and battered the country's infrastructure.
- The parliamentary speaker announced that Assad garnered 95.1 per cent of the votes cast, trouncing two virtually unknown challengers.
- On the eve of the election, the US, Britain, France, Germany and Italy said the poll was "neither free nor fair", and Syria's fragmented opposition has called it a "farce".
- In the last multi-candidate poll in 2014, Assad won 88 per cent of the vote.
- The vote took place amid the lowest levels of violence since the war erupted in 2011 -- but with the economy in free fall.
- More than 80 per cent of the populations live in poverty, and the Syrian pound has plunged in value against the dollar, causing skyrocketing inflation.
- Assad was first elected by referendum in 2000 after the death of his father Hafez al-Assad, who had ruled Syria for 30 years.