Turnout in Syria´s parliamentary elections drops to 33.17%

Damascus, Jul 21 (efe-epa).- The turnout in the parliamentary elections in war-torn Syria, held amid a severe economic crisis, stood just over 33 per cent, the Supreme Judicial Committee for Elections announced on Tuesday.

During a press conference held in Damascus, the head of the committee Samer Zamriq said that 6,224,687 people cast their ballot in the 19 July elections, 33.17 per cent of the eligible voters, compared to the 57.56 per cent in the 2016 vote.

The elections were held in most of Syria’s territory in which the government has gained control over, except for the northwestern province of Idlib and other areas in the north of the country.

The vote had to be rerun on Monday in five polling stations in the northwestern province of Aleppo and the eastern province of Deir al Zur due to irregularities, according to the committee.

Nearly 7,300 polling centres opened at 07:00 local time (04:00 GMT) to receive voters, who had to wear masks among other precautionary measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, and closed at 20:00 GMT.

A total of 1,656 candidates competed for 250 seats in Parliament.

However, the seats have already been allocated; 166 reserved for President Bashar al-Assad’s Ba’ath Party, 65 for independent candidates and the rest for other parties authorised to compete by the regime.

The better part of the Syrian opposition has fled the country since the 2011 uprising that turned into an armed conflict that has left over six million displaced and 5.5 million refugees.

Although violence has de-escalated in most parts of the country, the Syrian economy is devastated and the UN estimates that 83 per cent of Syrians live below the poverty threshold, on less than $100 a month.

The elections, originally scheduled for April, were postponed to May, and then July 19 due to the coronavirus crisis.

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