Statement from the International Delegation to the 2021 Syrian Presidential Election
This independent delegation was assembled to witness the May 26, 2021, presidential election in Syria and to investigate on-the-ground conditions of Syrian life in the current period. Activists and journalists from Palestine, Syria, South Africa, France, Canada and the United States joined this delegation at the invitation of the Syria Solidarity Movement and Arab Americans 4 Syria. This joint statement summarizes our findings on the election and what it means for Syrians.
On election day, our delegation traveled to neighborhoods that had been outside of government control when the last presidential elections took place in 2014. Notably, we visited polling places in the towns of Arbeen and Douma in the hard-hit Eastern Ghouta region southeast of Damascus, where residents are returning and beginning to rebuild their homes, some after years of seeking refuge elsewhere. We witnessed Syrians cast secret ballots in polling places where monitors from opposition parties were present alongside election officials, in accordance with the Constitution of the Syrian Arab Republic. We saw nothing to indicate unfairness or coercion in the casting of ballots.
We also conducted extensive interviews with members of the Syrian general public. We were not inhibited in any way from conducting these interviews and could freely do so outside the presence of government officials.
We overwhelmingly found that Syrian people place tremendous significance on this election. During and after the election, we observed huge enthusiasm. It appeared genuine and widespread. For many Syrians, the election represents the imminent ending of the war, the defeat of foreign plots and hope for the future. For young people, it encapsulates the first period of relative stability they have experienced in their living memory. Many expressed that they were not simply casting votes for their preferred candidate, but for a sovereign, unified Syria, free from imperialist interference. For them, the presidential election was a referendum on the right of the Syrian people to determine their own future.
It is the unanimous conclusion of the undersigned representatives of the International Delegation to the 2021 Syrian Presidential Election that the reelection of President Bashar al-Assad, of the Arab Socialist Ba’ath Party and the National Progressive Front, is the legitimate, democratic expression of the Syrian people.
International Action Center
Co-editor, Tear Down the Walls!
Minnesota Anti-War Committee, USA
Co-chair, Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression
Coordinator, One Democratic State Assembly
Steering Committee, Syria Solidarity Movement
Secretary General, Ex Political Prisoner’s Veterans Association of South Africa (EPPA)
Member, Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK), African National Congress military wing
Johnny Achi, E.E.
Co-founder, Arab Americans for Syria
Adjunct Professor of International Human Rights, University of Pittsburgh School of Law
Adviser in international strategy, France
Retired Academic and Unretired NGO Administrator and Piano Technician
Photo Credit: Johnny Achi, Arab Americans For Syria