Syria is far away from holding any free and fair elections. Conducting credible elections in the current circumstances is just science fiction and impossible. Hence, these elections are just an illegitimate exercise in entrenching of the dictatorial rule of this regime. All Syrians have the right not only to vote but also to run for office, hold rallies and political campaigns, and participate in political debates as part of any future elections in Syria. However, the current circumstances deprive them from these rights. Many obstacles need to be overcome to reach the point of credible and possible election in Syria, and this includes constitutional, security, logistics and legal obstacles. These obstacles are just elements of the safe environment, which is an essential cornerstone and a prerequisite for any comprehensive political solution in Syria. Thus, the international community should concentrate on a comprehensive political solution with the safe environment as a main pillar to start with.

Haya Atassi, from SACD’s public relations team, discussed this issue with Hanna Roberts, an elections expert working with IFES, Vladimir Pran, who is an electoral advisor, Kareem Chehayeb, a Lebanese journalist who covers Syria and Dr Hala Ghawi, member of SACD trustees.