DAMASCUS, May 26. /TASS/. Syria’s presidential election will be held in a free atmosphere and in line with international standards, Dmitry Sablin, who heads the observer mission of the Russian State Duma (the lower house of parliament), told reporters on Wednesday.
"We can see that everyone has the opportunity to freely cast their ballots, and the election meets all international standards," Sablin emphasized during a visit to a Damascus polling station. The Russian lawmaker pointed out that "Syria’s election is the Syrian people’s business and only the Syrian people have the right to decide their future."
Sablin noted in a conversation with Russian reporters that the filled-out ballots were first put into envelopes at polling stations and then went into ballot boxes. Unlike in the United States, there is no mail-in voting.
Russian Senator Vadim Dengin, in turn, highlighted the large-scale election campaigns of the three presidential contenders. "It ensures direct access to the candidates’ programs," he specified.
Another member of the Russian Federation Council (the upper house of parliament) Oleg Seleznev noted that there were no observers representing the United States, the European Union, and the Arab League. "It’s strange and surprising. I think that it would have been interesting for them to monitor the election," he stated.
Syria will be holding its presidential election on May 26. The three candidates include incumbent President Bashar al-Assad, former state minister and lawmaker Abdullah Saloum Abdullah, and leader of the opposition’s Syrian Democratic Front Mahmoud Ahmad Mar’ai.