Syrian presidential election, 2007
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A referendum to confirm the presidential candidate Bashar al-Assad was held in Syria on 27 May 2007, after the People's Council of Syria unanimously voted to propose the incumbent for a second term on 10 May 2007.
According to the Syrian Constitution, the Arab Socialist Ba'at Party of Syria is the leader of the state and society and thus, the President should be a member of the party. The National Progressive Front, a political coalition led by the Ba'ath Party, nominated a candidate in the People's Council. The candidate had to be approved by at least two-thirds of MPs to proceed to the referendum, in which a candidate had to receive at least 51% of the vote.
The referendum was widely regarded as a formality, and was boycotted by the opposition. Political opposition groups were banned unless attached to the Ba'ath Party, meaning Assad was the only candidate allowed to run. It was reported that dissent was met with imprisonment and intimidation. Fear of government reprisal was said to have been pervasive. Critics accused Assad of rampant corruption, mass arrests against dissidents, and suppression of pro-democracy activists.
Members of the Damascus Declaration issued a statement which said calls to amend the constitution to allow for freer elections were ignored. Syrian lawyer Haitham al-Maleh stated "there is only one candidate and this is absolutely not a healthy process." Tom Casey, American spokesman for the State Department, said "I'm sure President Assad is basking in the glow of his ability to have defeated exactly zero other candidates and continue his misrule of Syria," and that "clearly there was no real choice here for the Syrian people."
Interior Minister Bassam Abdel Majeed claimed "this great consensus shows the political maturity of Syria and the brilliance of our democracy", while the ministry described voter turnout as "enormous". The information minister, Muhsen Bilal, stated that "we have our own style of democracy and we are proud of it."
- Syrian President Easily Wins Referendum The Washington Post, 29 May 2007
- Syrians Vote For Assad in Uncontested Referendum : Foes of President Boycott Election The Washington Post, 28 May 2007
- Assad wins 97.6% of Vote en Route to Re-election Victory Haaretz, 29 May 2007
- Syria's opposition boycotts vote on Assad Reuters, 17 May 2007
- Syrians Vote In Presidential Referendum CBS News, 27 May 2007
- Syria's Assad wins second term SBS World News, 29 May 2007
- Syria's Assad wins another term BBC News, 29 May 2007
- Democracy Damascus style: Assad the only choice in referendum The Guardian, 28 May 2007
- Syrian President's Fortunes Revive for Election The New York Times, 27 May 2007
- How Bush’s war bolstered Syria Salon, 1 June 2007
- US criticises al-Assad election win Al Jazeera, 30 May 2007