Syria Heads to the Polls

But opposition decries elections as sham
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted May 7, 2012 8:20 AM CDT
Syrian women have their identification checked before casting their vote in the parliamentary elections at a polling station in Damascus on May 7, 2012.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – Even as violence continues in Syria despite last month’s ceasefire, voters today headed for the polls for a parliamentary election that the government insists is a sign of political reform. But the opposition calls it a sham: "All of this is a theater show,” one man tells Reuters. “The candidates are businessmen and pawns of strong people in power.”

The opposition has been unable to shake Bashar al-Assad from power, and activists say Syria’s new constitution did not make any changes in the country. Many are boycotting today’s vote, striking and burning tires in protest, and though authorities are claiming high turnout, reporters observed just three people voting within 40 minutes at one polling station.

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