Syrian president Bashar-al-Assad was sworn in for a fourth presidential term on Saturday in the capital city of Damascus, nearly after two months of his victory in May elections, amid a stifling economic and living crisis plaguing the country, which has been witnessing a conflict for nearly ten years now.
Assad took the oath of office for another term in the “People’s Palace” in Damascus in the presence of members of the parliament, members of the government, political, media and religious figures, Syrian state media reported.
On May 28, Assad declared election victory after claiming 95.1 percent of ballots cast, or 13.5 million votes. Syria’s constitution sets the presidential term as seven years.
Standing against him were former state minister Abdallah Salloum Abdallah and Mahmud Mehri, a member of the so-called tolerated opposition, long dismissed by exiled opposition leaders as an extension of the regime.
Mehri officially received 470,276 votes, or 3.3 percent, and Abdallah was awarded 1.5 percent of the total with 213,968 votes.
Western observers said the election was neither "free nor fair."
Assad took power in Syria in 2000 following the death of his father, Hafez al-Assad, who had ruled the country for 30 years. May’s election was the second since the start of the decade-long civil conflict that has killed more than 388,000 people, caused millions to flee inside and out of Syria, and battered the country’s infrastructure.