BEIRUT (Reuters) - Bashar al-Assad won 88.7 percent of the vote in Syria’s presidential election, parliament speaker Mohammad al-Laham said on Wednesday, securing a third term in office despite a raging civil war which grew out of protests against his rule.
Assad’s foes had dismissed the election as a charade, saying the two relatively unknown challengers offered no real alternative and that no poll held in the midst of civil war could be considered credible.
“I declare the victory of Dr Bashar Hafez al-Assad as president of the Syrian Arab Republic with an absolute majority of the votes cast in the election,” Laham said in a televised address from his office in the Syrian parliament.
Syria’s constitutional court earlier said that turnout in Tuesday’s election and an earlier round of voting for Syrian expatriates stood at 73 percent.
Syrian officials had described the predicted victory as vindication of Assad’s three-year campaign against those fighting to oust him.
Voting took place in government-controlled areas of Syria, but not in large parts of northern and eastern Syria held by rebels fighting to end 44 years of Assad family rule.
The conflict has killed 160,000 people, driven nearly 3 million abroad as refugees and displaced many more inside Syria.
Reporting by Dominic Evans; editing by Ralph Boulton