Last night Bashar Assad was declared the winner of the Syrian election. People celebrated in the streets late into the night here in central Damascus. He won 88%. 73% of eligible voters voted. Some in opposition areas did not. It must be noted however that one of the candidates was a Communist party candidate who supported the opposition during the early peaceful protests. The current opposition is not interested in voting for him. I visited 6 or 7 polling places around Tartous on election day. The people I met were voting for Assad as a vote for the integrity and sovereignty of the country. Many have lost loved ones in the war. By far the highest number of dead are Syrian soldiers.
There are those who will gush in their affection and support of the president. And I have at least one recorded on video. However there are many more who are tired of war and suffering and want to begin rebuilding under a government that can support their basic needs. And there are those who are ready to cut their losses and return to a life that wasn’t so bad. Whatever softness there was in the connection between the very well thought out process and the villagers who loosely followed it, there is no doubt that the majority of Syrians want Assad to continue to govern.