An American human rights expert and peace activist says the overwhelming victory of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in this week's election reflects the nation’s positive sentiment toward the Syrian head of state, who has led the country’s fight against terrorism over the past decade.
Daniel Kovalik made the remarks in an interview with Press TV on Saturday after Assad won a fourth term in office by garnering 95.1 percent of votes in Wednesday’s presidential poll with a turnout of around 78 percent.
“I think that from perspective the results represent, they are the feelings of Syrians. That is to say that from talking to people on the streets there does seem to be a lot of warm feelings towards Assad. I think people are relieved that the war is over, or largely over and feel that Assad led them through that ordeal. And so, it’s my sense that the elections reflect the sentiment of a lot of Syrians,” he said.
Syrian refugees and expatriates cast an early ballot in the embassies of their host countries on May 20.
The analyst noted that the participation of the Syrians abroad in the election was due to their “patriotic sentiment,” contrary to the West’s claim that they were forced to do that.
Asked to compare the Syria poll with the Western models of election, he said such a comparison is not fair as it is based some arbitrary standards.
“In my own view everyone is allowed to have their own form of voting and democratic processes. With that said, there were some interesting things about the vote that people can vote anywhere. … In the US for example you voted in a single location. Here you can travel all across the country. That's interesting. It's a simple form of voting,” Kovalik explained.
“So I would say there were some positive things about the election, you know, again, there could be improvements, but I think what you're seeing in Syria is a gradual move towards a more democratic system. And that has to be applauded.”
Commenting on the Syrians’ reaction to the results of the election, he said what he saw in the capital Damascus was “an outpouring of happiness.”
“On the streets, people are firing their guns, honking their horns and waving the Syrian flag. I think people are proud of their country, of their system. And I don't think you can fake that or force people to fake that kind of enthusiasm that I saw. I saw people literally dancing in the street. I don't think that happens unless they feel joy,” he added.
Syria has been gripped by foreign-backed militancy since March 2011, with Western countries and their regional allies aiding Takfiri terrorist groups that are wreaking havoc in the Arab country.
Syrian government forces, backed by Iran and Russia, have managed to win back control of almost all regions from militants.