Syria’s higher constitutional court has finally approved of this year’s presidential nominees, bringing the number of contenders to three. Though fate seems to favour Bashar al-Assad again, Syrians have yet to rule out other possibilities.
Big days are ahead of Syria. The country which was once a bastion of commerce and trade stands in ruin but for the first time in a very long period, it appears that the light might be finally shining through all that ash and smoke in the air. A presidential election is on the people’s bucket list and they would all be very happy to tick it off as soon as possible. Far too long has the international community left Syria on its own, though this time with a proper election, all is bound to change forever.
On May 26, the war-torn Syria is due to hold its presidential election. Considering the high number of the displaced because of the chaos, this latest election is important in a sense that it would serve as a reminder that there is yet hope for this country and for that the people will have to band together once again. More than 51 applicants registered to run this year but so far only three approved to run. Having said that, those that have been ruled out could still file an appeal prior to May 7. Syria’s electoral law clearly stipulates that the applicants will have to have lived in Syria for a period of 10 years and it is widely assumed that the basis for the rejection of so many candidates will have something to do with the fact that many of them left the country because of war. Still, things are bound to change and this could too as well.
So far the three candidates are as follows: The incumbent President Bashar al-Asad, the former minister Abdallah Salloum Abdallah and the leader of the opposition Mahmoud Marei. As expected, this year’s frontrunner is once again Bashar al-Assad himself. For more than 20 years, the al-Assad family has been in power and this time doesn’t appear to be any different. As expected, Western countries don’t seem that much thrilled about the prospect of Assad winning the election. Because of that, they’ve resorted to waging a smear campaign against the country, undermining its electoral integrity. To observe the electoral process, Syria has invited legislators from countries like Russia and Iran, its two main benefactors during the war, and a couple of others from countries like China and Cuba. Even so, Westerners still refuse to accept it regardless of what happens.
To their utter dismay, Assad himself has made the effort to restore the country to its former glory in recent times, depriving his opponents of the excuses they usually levelled against him in the past. In recent months, Assad’s government has raised salaries, came down on currency manipulators, and balanced the exchange rate as much as possible. Aside from that, for the first time since the start of the civil war, Assad seems to be having the full support of the influential Alawite minority behind his back, giving him considerable political clout which obviously ends up in his favour during the election. In addition to that, Assad has also commuted the sentences of many in jails currently, offering waivers and amnesties to people who once took up arms against him. Even so, nothing could be so easily ruled out in the world of politics as we know it and a miracle could change the fate of Syria forever. Nevertheless, the country seems to be on the right track of recovery after so much time. One can only hope it lasts so that Syrians will have a moment of respite after so much bloodshed and chaos.