Syrians have been voting in the first parliamentary election in nearly five decades that won’t necessarily guarantee a majority result for the ruling Ba’ath party.
The government has gone ahead with the vote despite continuing violence from a 14-month old uprising.
euronews’ special envoy to Damascus Bora Bayraktar visited one polling station in the Syrian capital. He said there was a steady stream of voters while he was there.
Despite critics saying that many of the candidates from outside the ruling party are regime loyalists,
many voters seemed hopeful about the outcome.
“It’s important that we need to change the old democracy. We need democracy but real democracy,” said one woman.
Another voter said: “The election is very good for all Syrian people. It’s what we need today, we need democracy. Now we can have it with this vote.”
At another polling station in Damascus, several people told the Reuters news agency why they had decided to come out and vote:
“It’s important for everyone to be responsible after all the problems that the country has been through. It is our duty and our right to vote and let our voices be heard,” said local resident Intisar Yassari.
“Everybody should vote in Syria so we can be listened to. We should vote for the people whom we want to be in parliament so they can deliver our demands to the government,” added Samer Al-Sameh.
One minister said Syrians should vote to cast a ballot against what he called “terrorism”. State television has reported a high turnout of voters in several regions of the country.
Syria’s opposition called the vote a sham and called on citizens to boycott the election. Many respected Syrian opposition candidates are in exile overseas.