Election day/Valdagen i Syrien

Den kanadensiske fredsaktivisten Ken Stone har skrivet denna rapport från parlamentsvalet i Syrien. http://www.crescent-online.net/2016/04/election-day-in-canada-ken-stone-in-damascus-5333-articles.html

Stone är en veteran från den kanadensiska freds- och miljörörelsen. Han är en pensionerad lärare. Jag uppmärksammades på artikeln i Pål Steigans blogg. http://steigan.no/2016/04/16/election-day-in-syria/

”Canadian Peace Activist Ken Stone files this report directly from Damascus where he is part of the Second International Tour of Peace to Syria. He observed the Syrian Parliamentary election today (April 13).”

Andra aspekter på valet finns i en artikel 14/4. http://jinge.se/allmant/valet-i-syrien-avvisas-av-kand-diktaturkramare.htm

* På resande fot del av dagen, hinner ej översätta.
Today, the members of the Second International Tour of Peace to Syria were offered the privilege of accompanying the Patriarch of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church as he went to vote in the Syrian parliamentary elections. Gregorious III, the spiritual head of millions of Catholics all over the world, told us, in an audience before he invited us to join his procession, that the Syrian elections today were very important. In fact, he declared they represented “a challenge to the world” to recognize that, despite the covert machinations of certain western and Arab countries against Syria, Syrians are united in the pursuit of peace. He offered a prayer for Syrians, using the motto, “One people, one country!” Furthermore, he indicated that today’s elections, if successful, could be a model for other countries in the Arab world, similarly beset by foreign meddling.
The patriarchal procession left the 19th century Greek Melkite Catholic Church and wound its way through the narrow, cobblestone streets of Old Damascus to the Armenian Catholic Church, where it was met by priests of that church. Together in the chapel, after exchanging some ecumenical greetings, the whole procession then departed to the school next door where the polling station was located.

There was quite a crowd who came to vote and witness the voting, which was conducted in secret behind a white curtain. The patriarch posed a long time, poised with his ballot in hand, over the ballot box for many flash photographs. There was applause and a murmur of satisfaction when he finally dropped his ballot into the box.

Gregorious III was not the only person in a defiant mood about today’s parliamentary elections. The Syrian government itself calls the elections “an exercise in national sovereignty.” It called for these elections the same day that the agreement was signed between the US and Russia some weeks ago for a partial cessation of hostilities in Syria. At first, all the great powers opposed the Syrian government’s initiative for parliamentary elections, because there was no mention in the Geneva l document of 2012 that elections could be held in Syria before the talks to establish a transitional government were completed. Just today, the US State department dismissed the Syrian parliamentary elections as “not representing the will of the Syrian people”, even before the results were in (though where the US government derives its authority to pronounce of the validity of elections in other countries escapes me.)

At first, even the Russian government was not fully onside with the calling of parliamentary elections in Syria. However, just yesterday, in a meeting with Argentinian diplomats, Sergei Lavrov indicated that he did not want to see a “void” in government in Syria. So the Syrian government moved pre-emptively to fill that void, by holding elections, just as it fills the void by continuing the regular functions of government such as cleaning the streets and paying the salaries of civil servants.
Syrien - valet K Stone

So what does a Syrian parliamentary election look like? When we left the hotel this morning, there were small groups of young people in the streets wearing similarly-coloured clothing and handing out quarter-page flyers. These groups of uniformly handsome young men and attractive young women (no accident, I assume) were representing the various lists contesting the elections. They pressed the leaflets into the hands of anyone and everyone who would take them, even us foreigners. The flyers contained the names of all the candidates for election in Damascus from each slate. Sometimes, the flyers were only on behalf of a single candidate. It reminded me of trade union elections at national union conventions back in Canada.

On the walls of the buildings along the narrow streets were plastered hundreds upon hundreds of election posters. Over the streets were strung banners showing small and large groupings of well-dressed candidates representing each slate. Clearly, the 250 parliamentary seats were being hotly contested.

On every corner were uniformed soldiers armed with assault rifles. Now, if we had an election in Canada under the watchful eyes of the military like this, we would feel that we were close to fascism. Not so here. After five long years of war, the Syrian people welcome the presence of their army. After all, just several kilometres away, in neighbouring Ghouta, all kinds of terrorist mercenaries hold the population hostage and in terror. Until just three months ago, these foreign-backed terrorists had been lobbing mortar shells on Damascus virtually every single day for five years. They timed their attacks to coincide with rush hour in the mornings to achieve the maximum kill of working people and at 12:30 pm every day just as school children were coming out of school. Many were killed and wounded. However, after their leader, Zahran Alloush, was killed in a Syrian Army drone strike, the mortars fell silent.

So, the Syrian Arab Army soldiers were manning checkpoints and guarding public buildings precisely to give Damascenes the confidence that they could come out on the street without facing suicide bombers and car bombs. It worked! Not a single terrorist incident took place in Damascus today. And our guide informed us that tomorrow armed soldiers would be few and far between on the streets of Damascus.

Our tour guide led us past dozens of polling stations over the course of our tour of the historic sites of Old Damascus that day. In the Old City, the polling stations were never more than two blocks apart, which is far more frequent than in Canada.

We actually went inside five different polling stations, which were staffed mostly by women. And here’s how those little quarter-page flyers work their magic:

When a voter (of eighteen years or older) enters the polling station, he or she must produce the government-issued ID card. His or her name is then dutifully entered into a register and the voter is given a ballot and an envelope. The ballot has spaces to enter the 29 names of candidates who are contesting the seats open for election in Damascus. The voter may go behind the white cloth screen and fill in as many as 29 names or as few as one. Or, he or she may take one of those little flyers containing the candidates’ names of one particular slate, put it into the envelope, and then proceed to drop the envelope, containing the blank ballot and slate list, into the ballot box. Or, the voter can strike out any names on the flyer containing the slate’s list that he or she doesn’t like and put the envelope, with the blank ballot and the amended slate list, into the ballot box.

After casting the ballot, the polling clerk dips the index finger of the voter onto a pad of indelible ink so that he or she can’t vote more than once.

Having worked on many Canadian elections, I can attest to the fact that Syrian elections are different from Canadian elections. But that doesn’t mean they don’t represent the national will, as claimed by US State Department. After all, with the Canadian first-past-the-post system, the representation of political parties in the House of Commons in Ottawa bears little resemblance to their share of the popular vote. And, in Canada, we have, in effect, a two party system. Only the big business-friendly Liberals and Conservatives have ever held power in our country in 150 years.

In Syria, the system works this way: out of 250 seats in the Syrian parliament, 170 are allocated to the ruling Ba’ath Party and its allies in the National Progressive Front. The reminder are open for grabs to anyone who holds only Syrian citizenship, is over 18, and has no security issues (is not actively fighting with one of the terrorist groups). In this election, there were an incredible number of 3000 candidates for all 250 positions. Why? Because there is a good salary and lots of perks for MP’s in Syria (just as there are in Canada). There were so many candidates, in fact, that 7000 candidates became discouraged and dropped out of the running before today’s election.

It will take up to a week to count all the ballots.

Meanwhile, Syrians were not shy to share their enthusiasm for these elections. I interviewed a number of them, men and women, in my statistically-insignificant exit polling. One middle-aged man told me, “These elections show the world that Syrians – nobody else – will determine the future of Syria!” Another young first-time voter indicated that she felt it “her national duty” to participate in the elections. A young man declared his belief that these elections would speed up the peace process. A young woman said she felt the elections would bring a better life to Syrians. I asked if she meant that “better life” would include Syrian women. She replied it would include “all Syrians.” Still another young first-time voter, when asked by me what the world would think of these elections, said, “It doesn’t matter what they think. It is up to Syrians to decide for themselves.”

I agree with the voters and the patriarch. The Syrian government acted boldly and wisely. It scheduled parliamentary elections under the constitution of 2012 so that it could come to the table in Geneva in two days (April 15, 2016) armed with a fresh mandate from the Syrian people to negotiate on its behalf.
The representatives at Geneva of the armed opposition have never submitted themselves to the test of an election in any of the territories of Syria they have invaded and occupied. Their only mandate derives from the arms, technical help, and money that flows to them from the USA, Israel, UK, France, and the Gulf despots through Turkey and Jordan. In fact, the Syrians unlucky enough to have lived in the “rebel-held” areas voted with their feet about their terrorist overlords. The vast majority of them fled, either to other countries, or to government-held areas. Damascus and Latakia, for example, have doubled and tripled their populations due to internally-displaced persons.

While we wait for the results of today’s elections, members of the Second International Tour of Peace have been granted an audience with the Syrian Minister for Reconciliation. I will share the insights we glean from him about the process of arranging truces, evacuating foreign fighters, offering amnesties, reabsorbing former opposition fighters into Syrian society, and bringing home refugees in a report shortly.

i Andra om: , val, , , , , , , , , ,

New York Times 3/6 DN 22/5 Daily Telegraph 3/6 Farsnews 3/6 Russia Today 3/6 DN 3/6 DN 14/4 Seymour Hersh Blogginlägg om gasattacken 5 april Syrien valet 2016

  9 comments for “Election day/Valdagen i Syrien

  1. Det våras för Syriens folk
    16 april, 2016 at 18:21

    Under det att ”moderata” och ”extrema” halshuggare rensas runt om Aleppo


    och ”moderata” och ”extrema” halshuggare, halshugger varandra nordöst om Damaskus


    Dessutom är valen i Syrien inte köpta som i USA där AIPAC avgör vem som få bli USAs nästa ”Servant for Israel” – det är i stället Syriens folk som väljer sin(a) ledare.

  2. Thomas Åkerblad
    16 april, 2016 at 20:21

    Hälften av befolkningen på flykt och valet genomförs i de områden som kontrolleras av regeringen. Vad spelar ett sådant Kalle Anka-val för roll? Känns ungefär som ett val ordnat av Quisling i Norge under WW2.

    • 16 april, 2016 at 21:03

      Befolkningen är på flykt pga. kriget som främst är en produkt av en sedan länge planerad intervention av USA via ombud (Källa.Bl.a. förra NATO-chefen general W Clark). Det är helt överlägset de av USA godkända och övervakade valen i Irak och Afghanistan där endast kandidater av demokratimotståndaren USA fick ställa upp. Det är dessa val i Irak och Afghanistan som kan påminna om Quislingval.

    • Martin Kullberg
      16 april, 2016 at 23:09

      Jo, det påminner onekligen en del om det Ukrainska valet.

  3. Pingback: 16 april | Syrien
  4. sl
    17 april, 2016 at 08:50

    Valet kommer att ge vid handen att de som stöder Assad, de stöder Assad. Hur stor andel av befolkningen kan vi bara gissa. Det spelar heller ingen roll, han har inte för avsikt att förlora makten, eller valet, vilket inte är samma sak. Valet är givetvis riggat så att han vinner efter omständigheterna.

    • 17 april, 2016 at 12:19

      Viss kännedom finns om Assads ställning:

      Enligt tidigare opinionsundersökningar kan man vänta sig en klar seger för Assads Baath-parti. Assad har lett landet under mycket svåra förhållanden i strid mot al-Qaida, IS som fått mycket stöd från USA och med USA allierade stater, som Sverige.

      * År 2012 intervjuade västerländsk media tre befälhavare i Fria syriska armén (FSA) i Aleppo. De uppgav att de var hatade av lokalbefolkningen och att Syriens president hade störst stöd. En sade sa att president Assad hade ca ”70 procent” stöd (Bayoumy 2013) i den huvudsakligen sunnimuslimska staden. En andra sade att ”alla i lokalbefolkningen var lojala mot den kriminella Bashar” (Abouzeid 2012). En tredje sade att de är ”alla angivare … de hatar oss. De anklagar oss för destruktion” (Abdul-Ahad 2012). Även om detta är obekräftade uppgifter har de intresse.
      * Medan Natos regeringschefer påstod att Assad hade ”förlorat all legitimitet” visade en intern NATO-rapport att 70% av syrierna stödde presidenten, 20% var neutrala medan 10% stödde ”rebellerna” (World Tribune 2013. BIN 2013).
      * Detta matchar ungefär resultatet av presidentvalet i juni 2014, där al-Assad fått 65% stöd från alla röstberättigade, det vill säga 88,7% av rösterna från en 73,4% deltagande (Idea International 2015).
      (Som jämförelse väljs presidenterna i USA med stöd av ungefär 30 % av de röstberättigade, då valdeltagandet brukar ligga på högst 60 % och då presidenten väljs med knapp majoritet). Vilken av presidenterna har störst legitimitet?
      * En opinionsundersökning förra sommaren av forskningsföretaget ORB International som arbetar för USA:s och Storbritanniens regeringar fann att 47 procent av syrierna menar att Assad har ett positivt inflytande i Syrien, jämfört med 35 procent för den fria syriska armén (FSA). En undersökning av ORB i maj 2014 gav liknande resultat. Bara sex procent tror att rebellerna representerar deras intressen. Assad har upprepade gånger pekat på att hans regering överlevt nästan fem år av krig mot krafter som stöds av jordens mäktigaste stater. Det vore omöjligt utan betydande stöd av en stor del av befolkningen.

    • Martin Kullberg
      17 april, 2016 at 17:40

      En majoritet av syrien stödjer Assad, det har visats i opinionsundersökningar av västerländska marknadsundersökningsföretag. Han har ingen anledning att rigga några val. Jag vet väldigt lite om detaljerna, men det är givetvis den som kommer med det fantastiska påståendet och anklagelsen som måste leda den i bevis.

      Funderar du någonsin över varför du säger saker som att ”valet är givetvis riggat”, då du inte har någon som helst anledning att säga detta? Hur kom denna säkerhet in i ditt huvud?

      Jag undrar för jag har inte alls den säkerhet om något.

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