Election in Syria has no legitimacy

‘The so-called election in Syria today is a farce and has no legitimacy. It is impossible to hold a democratic election in a situation where millions of Syrians have fled their homes, cities are in ruins, and blood is being shed on a daily basis,’ said Foreign Minister Børge Brende.

‘The so-called election in Syria today is a farce and has no legitimacy. It is impossible to hold a democratic election in a situation where millions of Syrians have fled their homes, cities are in ruins, and blood is being shed on a daily basis,’ said Foreign Minister Børge Brende.

The election has only been held in government-controlled areas; the people in other parts of the country, including internally displaced people, have not been able to vote. Many of those who have fled the country have not been able to vote either. Syria’s new election law also prevents opposition candidates in exile from taking part.

‘President Bashar al Assad is expected to be declared the winner, but this will not change realities on the ground. The conflict will continue, as will the suffering of the civilian population,’ said Mr Brende.

‘Instead of insisting on holding an election now, Assad should have postponed the election due to the situation in the country. This would have been possible under the Syrian Constitution, and would have given a positive signal to the opposition and the international community. Instead, the election has undermined the prospect of peace talks, which could in turn lead to a political solution to the conflict,’ said Mr Brende.

More than 10 million people in Syria are in constant need of humanitarian assistance. The ability of the UN and humanitarian organisations to reach these people is limited due to hostilities and the deliberate blocking of supplies to opposition-controlled areas in particular. The number of people who have fled to neighbouring countries has exceeded 2.8 million. Unless the humanitarian situation improves, the number of Syrian refugees in neighbouring countries will reach four million by the end of 2014.

‘The conflict could destabilise other countries in the region, and is a potential threat to global security,’ said Mr Brende.

Norway is the sixth largest humanitarian donor to Syria and its neighbouring countries, and has provided NOK 1.3 billion in humanitarian assistance since the war started. Norway is also helping to transport chemical weapons out of Syria.