Path to Re-Election: Majority of Syrians Believe Assad is Only Leader Able to Confront the West

Although the Syrian Civil War has left nearly 400,000 people dead and millions more displaced, Bashar al-Assad is perceived as the person most fit to stand at the helm of the war-torn country. And a local expert says he is likely to win the presidential race on Wednesday.

In 2014, when Daesh* was at its peak in Syria, President Bashar al-Assad won the presidential race, getting some 90 percent of the vote. On Wednesday, when Syrians head back to polling stations, he is expected to claim victory once again.

In Assad We Trust

Taleb Ibrahim, a Damascus-based political analyst, says the outcome of the upcoming elections is rather predictable and this stems from the vast majority of the population being supportive of their president and them wanting him stay in power.

Critics Won’t Rest

Assad’s critics think otherwise. Even before the eruption of the Arab Spring in Syria in March 2011, Assad was often slammed for “oppressing” and “suppressing” the country’s minorities and opposition and for failing to implement much-needed social and economic reforms.

When a civil war broke out, he was rebuked for not leaving office to make room for the fragmented opposition to take over, for cracking down on protesters, and for instigating a war that has killed nearly 400,000 people and displaced millions of others.

In the West, he was also criticised for not adhering to democratic processes and for relying on Iran and Russia to fight against elements considered legitimate by the…

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