Last updated: 7 May, 2012

Syrian opposition rejects elections “under gunfire”

Syria’s main opposition group on Monday slammed the regime for holding parliamentary polls “under gunfire,” saying it did not have the legitimacy to run elections.

The Syrian National Council, an exiled opposition umbrella organisation, in a statement condemned the regime’s decision to hold elections “under gunfire, missiles of all kinds and genocide.”

“With unprecedented brazenness, the Syrian regime has called for parliamentary elections,” said the SNC.

“Whoever drowns Syria in blood, displaces two million Syrians and shoots at the Syrian people, does not have the legitimacy to draw up a constitution or an electoral law, or to run elections,” it added.

Polling stations opened on Monday for Syria’s first “multiparty” election in five decades that is taking place against a backdrop of bloody turmoil.

Analysts and regime critics say the vote, which was postponed from September last year after President Bashar al-Assad announced the launch of a reform process, will do little to change the autocratic regime.

Voting began on Monday at 7:00 am (0400 GMT) across the country.

According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, more than 11,100 people have died in violence, mostly civilians, since an anti-regime uprising broke out in March last year.