Assad’s election plan gets cold shoulder from U.N.

Photo: Assad’s election plan gets cold shoulder from U.N. / Arab World

The United Nations harshly criticized Syria's decision to hold a presidential election on June 3, amid the ongoing bloody war in the country, saying that the election would ruin any potential political resolution to the problem, Al Arabiya reported.

President of the Syrian parliament, Mohammad al-Lahham, announced on Monday that presidential elections will be held on June 3, despite the violence tearing the country. He promised the poll would be "free and fair."

Both the U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon and his special envoy to Syria Lakhdar Brahimi have warned against a presidential election during the rough circumstances, U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.

Ban and Brahimi believe holding a presidential election "will damage the political process and hamper the prospect for a political solution that the country so urgently needs," Dujarric said.

"Such elections are incompatible with the letter and spirit of the Geneva communique," he added, referring to an agreement between the government and the opposition on the transition to democracy as a basis for the negotiations between the opposing parties.

At least 150,000 people died during the conflict, reported a Syrian NGO, and millions have been forced out of their homes and turned into refugees.

Last January, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad told Agence France-Presse that there was a strong chance he would run for presidency. Bashar succeeded his father, Hafez al-Assad after his death in 2000.

According to Brahimi, the opposition would refuse to return to the negotiations table if Assad was rel-elected. When the statement was out, Damascus reacted saying Brahimi has overstepped his mandate.

The Syrian opposition dismissed the election as a "farce," saying its results would be rejected by the international community.

Syrians residing outside the country would vote on May 28, Lahham said.

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