Turnout of Syrian parliamentary elections 51.26 pct (lead: Syria polls)
Damascus (Syria), May 15 (Xinhua-ANI): Syria's recent parliamentary elections were conducted in a "free" climate and the voters' turnout is estimated at 51.26 percent, chairman of Syrian higher committee of elections said Tuesday.
Speaking at a press conference at the Justice Ministry in the capital Damascus, Khlaf Azawi said the number of eligible voters is 10,118,519, while only 5.186 million have cast valid ballots.
A total of 7,195 candidates, including 710 women, were competing for seats in the legislature.
The elections on May 7 ran "smoothly and easily," Azawi said, adding that Syrian voters were "free to elect the one that represents them."
He said the turnout was "good," adding that 30 women won in the elections, making the number of female lawmakers the same as in the previous term.
The announcement of election results has been postponed for several days, as voting was re-conducted at several electoral centers across the country due to some violations of the election law.
The elections are the first under the new constitution adopted three months ago that allows political parties to compete with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's ruling Baath Party.
A total of 11 new parties participated in the elections, along with 10 parties of the National Progressive Front headed by the Baath party, as well as some independents.
The parliamentary elections came amid exceptional circumstances as the country was witnessing bloody events especially in hot areas, as well as boycott against the elections by some of the newly-licensed parties and opposition parties.
Hasan Abdul-Azim, head of the opposition National Coordination Body, told Xinhua recently that the elections "were designed by the security forces in Syria to fit the size of the current regime. "
Qadri Jamil, a candidate who won in the parliamentary elections, called Saturday for an immediate abrogation of the election results, charging that they were "forged and manipulated."
Speaking at a press conference on Saturday, Jamil, head of the National Front for Change and Liberation, charged that some " corruptive parties were able to manipulate and even falsify the results of the elections," adding that the turnout was relatively low.
The elections were also criticized by the United States, which regarded the move as "bordering on ludicrous."
However, the Syrian government deems the elections as a large step of the process of reforms promised by the embattled president. (Xinhua-ANI)
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