Russia praises Syrian election, criticises foreign monitors’ reaction

“Moscow sees the vote as an important event which safeguards the continued functioning of state institutions in Syria.”

Russia on Thursday said observers had found the Syrian presidential election in which Bashar al-Assad retained power to have been fair, free and transparent.

The Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman, Alexander Lukashevich, who spoke on in Moscow, told reporters at a briefing that countries which have denounced the vote have been unfair.

“Moscow sees the vote as an important event which safeguards the continued functioning of state institutions in Syria,” Mr. Lukashevich said.

He said while the election was naturally not 100 per cent democratic due to the conflict in Syria, there were reasons to praise its conduct.

“The turnout, transparency and the findings of foreign monitors give us no reason to question the legitimacy of the election.

“Against this background, the politicised reaction to the election from some of our international partners cannot fail to cause disillusionment.

“It is unacceptable to ignore the views of millions of Syrians,” the spokesman said.

Syria’s parliament speaker said Mr. Assad won 88.7 per cent in the election, which was held mainly in areas where his forces hold sway.

The U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry, called the election meaningless and a great big zero.

Russia has given Assad crucial backing during the conflict which has killed 160,000 people.

It has provided arms and blocked Western and Arab-backed efforts to adopt UN Security Council resolutions condemning Assad or threatening him with sanctions.


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