Syrians are happy about presidential vote - Pravda.Ru correspondent in Damascus
Pravda.Ru special correspondent in Syria Elena Gromova visited poll stations in Damascus, the suburbs of which still suffer from terrorist attacks.
Syria held a presidential election on June 3. The turnout at the election exceeded all expectations. Additional fifteen hundred ballot boxes had to be delivered to poll stations along with extra ballots to several provinces of the country.
The electoral process and the vote itself took place against the backdrop of terrorist crimes committed against the civilian population. On the voting day, militants fired mortars at the capital and its surroundings. One of the shells hit the courtyard near the Opera House. Fortunately, there were no casualties. In a suburb of Damascus, one person was killed and seven others suffered injuries of different severity.
Nevertheless, people went to polling stations in almost all provinces. The exception was the province of Raqqa, which remains under the control of terrorists from extremist organization Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant and other radical groups. On the territory of the province, as well as several areas of other provinces, holding elections was impossible. However, the Syrians had the right to vote at any polling station in the country, so even the citizens of those provinces could take part in the vote.
Three candidates are running for presidency. They are incumbent President Bashar al-Assad and his opponents - Hassan An-Nuri and Maher Hajar of moderate opposition.
To eliminate recurrent vote by same people, a protective measure was provided. A voter was supposed to dip his or her finger in stubborn ink.
A ballot paper is a colorful card with photos of all three candidates. There are several versions of the ballots that differ in the arrangement of pictures of the candidates.
The voting process is monitored by observers from Russia and other Syria-friendly countries, in particular - Iran, Venezuela, Bolivia, North Korea, as well as public figures from Pakistan, the U.S. and Canada. Bashar al-Assad voted at a poll station at one of the schools of Damascus and talked to electors.
Foreign-based Syrian nationals arrived to their native land from the countries that had previously prohibited absentee vote for the Syrian presidential election. The U.S., France, Belgium and Kuwait are among such countries. Representatives of the Syrian community arrived by specially organized charter flights. Poll stations were organized for them at airports.
The Syrians were happy about the presidential vote. Many were driving vehicles in the streets, waving Syrian flags from the windows. Patriotic music was playing in the streets.
As long as the turnout was higher than expected in many territories, many people did not have time to vote before the closing time. It was decided to extend the time of the vote before midnight.
The Syrian authorities decided not to expose any preliminary results of the vote. The result is said to be announced on Thursday, June 5th.