Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has easily won his fourth election, the second held during a decade-long civil war and the ninth in favor of a dynasty that has led the country for over half a century.
Parliament Speaker Hammouda Sabbagh announced Thursday that the incumbent Assad had won 95.1 percent of the vote, or 13,540,860 ballots. The numbers were likely to be met with skepticism by critics, including Syrian opposition figures and Western powers that have derided the race as a sham.
Out of 51 candidates who applied for the top position, only two others, Abdullah Salloum Abdullah and Mahmoud Ahmad Marie, were approved by the Supreme Constitutional Court of Syria.
Assad’s last election occurred in 2014, when he was said to have won with 88.7 percent of the vote, a historic low for the ruling Assad family. He had reportedly secured around 97 percent in the 2007 Syrian presidential election and some 99.7 percent in a 2000 referendum on his leadership after the death of his father, former Syrian President Hafez al-Assad.
The elder Assad had scored even more impressive victory margins, including a purported 100 percent in 1999, a year before his death, 99.9 percent in 1991, 100 percent in 1985, 99.9 percent in 1978 and 99.2 percent in a 1971 referendum on his rule a year after taking power in a coup.