DAMASCUS - Syrians voted in a parliamentary election on Monday termed by authorities as a milestone of political reform.
State television channels aired footage from polling centers across the country, showing people ticking boxes on ballot papers and slipping them into plastic boxes
The Syrian streets, press, websites and social media reflected the flurry of the electoral propaganda, stopped at 7:00 a.m. on Sunday, which helped introduce the candidates, their platforms and statements to the electorate, SANA reported.
The political parties, trends and powers and independent candidates are taking part in the elections with electoral rolls, alliances or independently under a judicial supervision that ensures fairness, freedom and democracy for the electorate in choosing their representatives.
The Syrians hope that the elections will chart the future of Syria as the ballot box will reveal the popular support for the candidates regardless of their political or party affiliations.
Chairman of Higher Committee for Elections, Judge Khalaf al-Azzawi, said on Monday that voting was proceeding normally and quietly.
In a statement to SANA during a tour of voting centers in Damascus, al-Azzawi said that there were some minor remarks that were made in some centers and that heads of elections committees were informed of them, adding that they ensured the availability of secret ink and private voting booths.
On voting in other governorates, al-Azzawi said that the Committee hasn't received any complaint, objection or remark from judicial subcommittees in governorates regarding the voting process.
In turn, Interior Minister Mohammad Ibrahim al-Shaar affirmed that voting is proceeding normally, with voting centers witnessing considerable turnout, adding that there are no problems so far with the exception of some minor things that usually occur in elections.
Speaker of People's Assembly Mahomud al-Abrash said that the elections came as an actual implementation of party and political pluralism stated in the new constitution.
He added that the increasing turnout stresses the Syrians' desire to continue the reform process led by President Bashar al-Assad to build a renewed Syria.
In a statement to the journalists at the voting center at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Prime Minister Adel Safar said that the legislative elections mark an important and historic stage in Syria which is moving forward with the announced comprehensive reform program despite all conspiracies to hinder the development process.
He added that the elections helped enhance the principles of parliamentary life in the country, indicating that the People's Assembly will have a pivotal role in monitoring the government's performance.
The elections are part of the reforms promised by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
About 90 percent of the Syrians approved a new constitution in a referendum held on February 26.
The new constitution excludes Article 8, which declared the ruling Ba’ath Party as the “leader of the state and society,” establishes a multiparty system in Syria and limits the presidential term to two seven-year periods.
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