Assad gets seven more years as president
In power since 2000, Syria's president succeeds himself by a wide margin. The other candidates fare bad. Three people are injured in post-election festivities.

Damascus (AsiaNews/Agencies) - Syrian President Bashar Assad won Tuesday's presidential election.

Parliamentary Speaker Jihad Laham yesterday announced the final results in Syria's first multi-candidate presidential poll.

Outgoing President Assad got more than 10 million votes, or 88,7 per cent. The other two candidates, Hassan al-Nouri and Maher Hajjar, won 4.3 and 3.2 per cent respectively.

This was Syria's first multi-candidate presidential election.

Bashar al-Assad and his father Hafez al-Assad, who ruled Syria from 1971 to 2000, were elected on previous occasions in which voters could choose yes or no for the only candidate.

Immediately after the results, festivities began in the capital. Three people were injured from gunfire in the air.

Many voters now hope that a popular mandate will help Assad end the three-year civil war that has caused 160,000 deaths and millions of refugees with repercussions felt across the region.

The election was held only in areas controlled by the government and about half the population took part.

The rebel opposition and the West described the poll as a "farce."

Delegations from more than 30 countries, including Russia and Iran, Syria's main backers, monitored the elections, saying they were held in conformity with the international rules.