Amidst reports of escalating violence in different cities of Syria, President Bashar al-Assad on Tuesday announced to hold parliamentary polls in the country. The elections would be held on May 7 across the country. These elections are to be held as part of so-called reforms announced by the dictator to bring peace and stability. The dictator has been endeavoring for the last one year to stem the uprising against his regime but has failed. Pro-democracy people have rejected the so-called political reforms announced by the dictator and demanding an end to his rule.
Security forces loyal to the regime continue killing innocent people across the country including Idlib and Homs. The violence-wracked country has also been focus of the international community and efforts are underway to calm down the situation. Human rights activists say that around 8,000 innocent people have been killed so far across the country by the security forces. However, no exact numbers are available on abduction and killing of innocent civilians. Human rights activists believe that these numbers are also in thousands.
Amidst the growing violence and hostility, should Syria hold parliamentary elections? Indeed, elections are a heartening sign in the country but not at this time, really. The dictator should first end violence in the country by removing security forces and tanks from streets of the cities. As proposed by Arab League, the dictator should also release political prisoners whose numbers are believed to be in thousands and initiate dialogue with the opposition. Conducive environment should be created for elections; so that people can use their right to vote freely.
Elections held in these circumstances would have no credibility and would be wastage of money and time. The response from the Syrian National Council (SNC) is yet awaited and most likely it would call for boycott of the polls. Despite pressure from the international community, the dictator is not ready to hold dialogue with the opposition and take some concrete steps to revive peace in the country.
Former Secretary General of the United Nationson Tuesday termed his meetings with Assad as positive. He was speaking to the media in Turkey on his recent visit to Syria. Annan also held a detailed meeting with the SNC members in Turkey and urged them to be united and bring all opposition factions under one banner to unify and expedite struggle against the dictator.
At this point in time, the international community should negotiate with Russia and China for their support in bringing peace in the country. It is pertinent to mention here that Russia and China vetoed an Arab League-backed resolution in the UN Security Council last month against the dictator. The resolution has demanded Assad to delegate powers to his deputy and announce fresh elections in the country but unfortunately the resolution could not get through the Security Council.