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If you listen to the MSM, Assad is a dictator. Meanwhile, his people have returned him and his party to power with unswerving regularity:

“Syria’s ruling Ba’ath Party and its allies have won the majority of the votes in the recent parliamentary elections in the country, official results show. 

The Syrian electoral commission announced late Saturday that the National Unity coalition, comprising the ruling party and its allies, had won 200 of the 250 seats at the People’s Assembly (Majlis al-Sha’ab).” ~ Press TV

April 18, 2016 “Information Clearing House” – “21st Century Wire“-  Tuesday’s Syrian election was a vote of confidence by the Syrian people in their government. 5,085,444 voters cast their ballots out of a possible 8,834,994 eligible voters.

The overall participation rate of 58% (virtually identical to Canada’s last federal election) exceeded the government’s expectations in most places but was low in others.

For example, it was over 80% in Homs but only 52% in Tartous. What might explain the uneven results is the history of the war. People who suffered the most from the war, for example in Homs, were probably more grateful for their liberation and more motivated to exercise their political rights than people in Tartous who saw no fighting at all (though they lost thousands upon thousands of sons and grandsons in the war).

Also significant was the fact that over 140,000 refugees returned across the Lebanese border in just one day in order to vote.

And the polling hours in Damascus, which suffered a lot from the fighting, had to be extended until 11 pm to accommodate all the voters.

There were even polling stations set up by the government in recently liberated Palmyra and Al-Qaryaten, though those polls were largely symbolic because the inhabitants of those towns have not yet been able to return to their homes due to widespread destruction, prior to liberation by the Syrian Arab Army.

End of quote.

Assad won’t lie down and go away, as some of the astute observers recognised a couple of years ago.

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