No surprises as Syria's Assad re-elected for 4th term

Syria heads to the polls with Assad expected to win again

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The First World War hit the Syrian-led investigation Wednesday, and analysts predicted that Syrian President Assad won a fourth term to extend his term nationwide.

This controversial vote is the second election since a decade-long conflict that has killed more than 388,000 people and displaced half of the pre-war population.

Under the government, a large number of election posters praising Assad have sprung up in two-thirds of the country.

As foreign opponents are banned from running for elections and have no voting rights in areas beyond his control, Assad can only face two almost unknown challengers.

The official news agency SANA declared voting had started as planned at 7:00 am (0400 GMT) and state television showed long queues forming in several parts of the country.

Syrians can cast their ballots in more than 12,000 polling centres, and results are expected to be announced by Friday evening, 48 hours after voting closes.

The election takes place amid the lowest levels of violence since 2011 — but with an economy in free-fall.

More than 80 percent of the population live below the poverty line, and the Syrian pound has plunged in value against the dollar, with inflation skyrocketing.

Assad’s campaign slogan “Hope through work” evokes the huge reconstruction required to rebuild the country, which requires billions of dollars in funding.

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