Opposition Calls Syrian Elections a Farce
(DAMASCUS, Syria) -- Syrian opposition leaders have labeled Monday's parliamentary elections a sham and are calling on voters to stay away from the polls.
Up for grabs are 250 seats, but Haytham Manna and Haitham Maleh, who are both in exile, allege it's just another example of a power grab by President Bashar al-Assad, whose efforts to crush his political foes over the past 14 months have led to between 9,000 and 11,000 deaths.
Al-Assad claims the elections will lead to democratic reforms demanded by the Syrian people but his opponents say that nothing will change in the country where he's ruled with an iron fist for more than a decade.
Despite the call for a boycott, there's little chance of anti-government forces succeeding in electing candidates who will overturn the status quo.
Two months ago, the new constitution was approved in a referendum, which allows al-Assad to run for more two more seven-year terms.
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