Assad waits on poll call

WORLD NEWS:

Three days after the polls closed, President Bashar al-Assad (pictured) is still refusing to claim victory in Syria’s election until the ABC’s Antony Green officially calls the result.

Mr Assad said although he had secured an estimated 95.1% of the nationwide vote he was not yet prepared to declare he had won.

“Everyone knows that it is only right and proper that such a declaration is made by Antony Green,” Mr Assad said.

“I do acknowledge that my two opponents in the presidential race, Abdullah Salloum Abdullah and Mahmoud Ahmed Mari, gained 1.5% and 3.3% of the vote respectively.

“But until Antony Green calls the election I am still not willing to claim that I have won a fourth term,” he said.

Mr Green, still in Damascus where he appeared on the ABC’s live coverage of the Syrian election (main picture), said about 14.2 million votes had been cast in the Syrian elections, representing a voter turnout of almost 80%.

“I recognise that people may be keen for the election winner to be declared, but I am not prepared to call the result until we get more votes in from some of the outlying war-torn provinces,” Mr Green said.

“Nationally the Syrian Electoral Commission has reported only 112% of the vote counted and I need to see at least 120% or even 125% of the votes counted before I’d be confident in making a call on the result.”

Meanwhile, the Speaker of the Syrian Parliament, Hammouda Sabbagh (pictured), urged Mr Green to declare a winner.

“Whoever is to be President of Syria following Wednesday’s election should be declared as soon as possible to allow them to form a new government,” he said at a news conference held at the Damascus branch of Microphones R Us.