Large numbers are said to have turned out for Syria’s 250-seat parliamentary elections yesterday, according to the government who sees the poll as central to its reform programme.
But critics contest the official view and called it a sham and a mere piece of theatre meant to preserve President Bashar al Assad’s autocratic rule.
Voters were seen mainly in the capital Damascus, but elsewhere there were reports of heavy clashes between rebels and soldiers in the northern provinces and in the rebellious city of Hama.
In Washington the UN chief called for the full deployment of 300 ceasefire monitors to Syria as soon as possible.
“More than 9000 people have been killed during the last 14 months. This is a totally unacceptable and intolerable situation,” said Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
With Syria’s opposition preferring to hold rallies than vote few expect things to change. Activists accuse most of the newly formed political parties of having links with Assad’s ruling regime.