Syria Holds “Farce” Elections as Rebels Target Tanks

Polls opened in Syria Monday for what the government said were the country’s first multiparty elections in about 50 years but which rebels dismissed as a sham. Opposition leaders said the election would effect little change in a rubber-stamp assembly that has been selected by the President Bashar al-Assad regime, backed by a powerful secret police, for the last 40 years. The assembly presently does not have a single opposition member, and official media said half the seats would be set aside for "representatives of workers and peasants," whose unions are run by Assad's Baath Party. The vote came amid reports of renewed clashes between dissident rebels and Assad's military forces in an eastern oil-producing region of the country.

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