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Observer speaks out on Syria elections

By staff |
June 7, 2014
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Damasucs, Syria - On June 4, a group of parliamentarians met with the delegation of election observers from Canada, Ireland and the U.S. for a press event, which was covered by SANA, the Syrian public news company.

The chairwoman of the Foreign Policy Committee of the People's Assembly, Dr. Fadia Deeb, convened the meeting. Assemblywoman Deeb is from the city of Homs, which had been one of the starting places for the uprising of right-wing rebels that has torn apart the country for three years.

The following is a statement made by Joe Iosbaker, who served as an observer for the elections and is prominent Chicago based anti war activist:

“I was an election observer in Homs, where I spent time at multiple polling places. I directly observed several dozen people casting their ballots; I spoke with several of them at each of the precincts; I listened as other members of the delegation spoke with voters, as well as precinct workers.

“The election I observed was as free and fair as any I’ve witnessed in the U.S. The election was characterized by a high level of participation, with hundreds at enthusiastic voters, as well as the children of the community, rallying at each poll. Politically, it was more than a first multi-party election for president; it was a celebration of victory over the foreign armies that had finally withdrawn less than one month earlier.

“I am an experienced electoral activist in Chicago, where I am from. I want to compare the Syrian election with elections in the U.S. First, there is a much lower level of participation in the U.S. There are several reasons for this. For one, political parties work to depress turn out among workers, the poor, African Americans, Latinos and immigrants and youth. Also the electoral system requires a special registration to vote.

“Given the lies being told by the White House, I wanted to share with you a feature of the political system in the city of Chicago. Chicago, a city of 3 million, is a one-party state. The Democratic Party has controlled city government for 80 years. The last Republican mayor left office in 1931. There are 50 members of city council. They are all Democrats and there hasn’t been a Republican council member since the 1940s. Chicago is in Cook County, and all those elected from Chicago to county government are Democrats. The state assembly representatives and senators for the city of Chicago, of which there are a total of 45, are all Democrats. The six federal congresswomen and men for the city of Chicago are all Democrats as well. And on election day in Chicago, the precincts are required to have both Democratic and Republican party judges. It is routine that the ‘Republican’ judges are in fact Democrats, wearing the Republican badge for the day.

“Furthermore, I believe this is true in many cities in the U.S. In conclusion, the U.S. government has no right to criticize the elections in Syria.”