Syria preparing to hold 'sham' presidential election on June 3, says U.S.

DAMASCUS, Syria, June 2 (UPI) —

The U.S. Department of State has deemed the planned June 3 Syrian presidential election "a sham."

"We don’t feel it’s valid and we don’t feel the results will be valid," State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki said Friday, adding "We’re not going to recognize the outcome of this election and I don’t think the international community will either."

The British government agrees.

Foreign Office Minister Mark Simmonds described the holding of presidential elections in the midst of a bloody and protracted civil war as an attempt by President Bashar al-Assad "to sustain his dictatorship."

With millions displaced by the conflict and voting to be held only in areas controlled by the regime, western critics have questioned the ability of citizens to vote. The "new electoral law," Simmonds added, "rules out any genuine opposition to Assad."

"Elections conducted on this basis fall far short of any international standard, and their outcome will have no value or credibility."

The opposition Syrian Coalition has been vocal in its efforts to condemn the elections.

If 50% of your country were forced to flee their homes, would you think elections are legitimate? #Syria #electionsâ € ” Syrian Coalition (@SyrCoalition) May 27, 2014

The opposition charged the regime with voter manipulation at the Syrian Embassy in Beirut. Coalition Secretary General Badr Jamous condemned what he called an "intimidation campaign practiced by Assad’s allies in Lebanon who threatened the Syrian refugees of passing their names to the security offices at the Syrian Embassy in Beirut and at the border crossings in case they didn’t vote."

Assad is expected to emerge the victor in Tuesday’s elections, retaining the position he has held for 14 years as a successor to his father, Hafez al-Assad.

"It’s a coronation of Assad," Fawaz Gerges, a professor of international relations at the London School of Economics told CNN. Tuesday’s election, he predicted, will be "a celebration of his ability to survive the violent storm and basically go on the offensive."


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