Syria’s Assad wins fourth term in office with 95.1% of votes

Syria's President Bashar al-Assad won a fourth term in office with 95.1% of votes in an election that will extend his rule over a country ruined by war but which opponents and the West say was marked by fraud.

Assad's government says the election shows Syria is functioning normally despite the decade-old conflict, which has killed hundreds of thousands of people and driven 11 million people - about half the population - from their homes.

Head of parliament Hammouda Sabbagh announced the result in a news conference on Thursday, saying voter turn out was at around 78%.

The election went ahead despite a U.N.-led peace process that had called for voting under international supervision that would help pave the way for a new constitution and a political settlement.

The win delivers Assad seven more years in power and lengthens his family's rule to nearly six decades. His father Hafez al-Assad led Syria for 30 years until his death in 2000.

Assad was running against two obscure candidates, former deputy cabinet minister Abdallah Saloum Abdallah and Mahmoud Ahmed Marei, head of a small, officially sanctioned opposition party.

Marei got 3.3% of the vote while Saloum received 1.5%, Sabbagh said.

After the announcement, fireworks erupted in celebration and crowds continued cheering in various main squares in cities across Syria.

(c) Reuters

News.Az

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