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EU says Syrian presidential poll undermines efforts for solution

Wednesday’s presidential election in Assad regime-controlled Syria “undermine efforts to find a sustainable solution to the Syrian conflict,” according to the EU’s top diplomat.

“The elections that took place in Syria on 26 May met none of the criteria of a genuinely democratic vote, do not contribute to the settlement of the conflict,” EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said in a written statement Thursday.

Borrell added that elections in Syria should take place “only within the framework of a genuine political process, in line with UN Security Council Resolution 2254.”

“They can only be credible if all Syrians, including internally displaced people, refugees and members of the diaspora, are able to participate in a safe, and neutral environment without threat of intimidation and in a free and fair political competition,” he added.

Borrell said Wednesday’s presidential election “cannot lead to any measure of international normalisation with the Syrian regime.”

President Bashar Assad has been the victor in every election since he took power in 2000 as heir to his father, Hafez al-Assad.

The decision to hold elections was made despite the ongoing military conflict, lack of a political solution, failure of negotiations between the opposition and the regime, and the displacement of more than 10 million Syrians either as refugees or internally displaced persons.

Moreover, about 40% of the country is not under regime control.

Syria has been in a civil war since early 2011, when the regime cracked down on pro-democracy protests with unexpected ferocity.

Over the past decade, around half a million people have been killed and more than 12 million had to flee their homes.

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