Turnout plummets as Baath Party wins elections

Only 33% of the electorate voted. Opposition in exile and the United States brand the vote as "a farce", "unfree", "stage-managed". 80% of Syrians live below the poverty line

Damascus (AsiaNews) - The Baath party, formerly in government, and the allied parties won a majority in the parliamentary elections held on 19 July. Yesterday the Electoral Commission announced the results, declaring the "National Unity" coalition - which includes the party of President Assad and his allies – winners of a majority 177 seats out of 250.

Voter turnout however crumbled to 33% from 57% in 2016. Although the government had prepared polling stations even in areas recently reconquered by the army - such as eastern Ghouta and parts of idlib - the low turnout is also due to the fact that almost half of the Syrian population live as refugees in neighboring countries, thus unable to vote.

Opposition groups and refugees abroad had branded the election as a "farce". The United States also commented on the vote as "unfree" and as "'Stage-managed' ".

The results were delayed because the vote was held in four constituencies in Aleppo and one in Deir Ezzor on July 20.

The new parliament faces difficult challenges: the country must face the destruction caused by the war, but also the international sanctions that affect the economy. Inflation is very high and poverty is widespread. According to the World Food Program, 80% of Syrians are below the poverty line and the country is facing an "unprecedented hunger crisis".