Muslim Times(Web Desk) – About 35,000 candidates will contest the town council elections next month in Syria’s first local polls since 2011, when the country plunged into a foreign-backed crisis.
Suleiman al-Qaed, who heads the Higher Judicial Committee for Elections, told a leading newspaper on Wednesday that the elections would be held on September 18. Qaed said 18,478 seats were up for grabs, a slight increase from the roughly 17,000 seats open in 2011.
“The candidacy committees from the provinces accepted 34,553 candidacy requests for the local administration elections… from more than 55,164 requests,” Qaed was quoted by al-Watan as saying. “A large number of villages were transformed into municipalities, which is what explains the increase in the local seats that are being competed for.”
According to al-Watan, some provinces submitted no requests at all, including Dayr al-Zawr, Hasakah, and Dara’a.
Syrian forces control the western half of Dayr al-Zawr and its capital, but in Hasakah they only hold a few positions in the cities of Qamishli and Hasakah. Dara’a returned under the control of the government last month.
Syria’s official news agency SANA reported the government would open special centers in the city of Hama so people from areas outside the government control, northwest Idlib and northern Raqqah, could still register as candidates.
Bashar al-Haffar, the current secretary-general of the Damascus provincial council, said, “There will be much more work for the new council.”
“It will oversee the task of setting development plans, suggesting investment projects, and making practical decisions appropriate for the reconstruction phase.”
Syria last held parliamentary elections in 2016.
A presidential election in 2014 renewed President Bashar al-Assad’s rule for another seven years.
Syrian army forces have made significant advancements against Takfiri terrorists in the various parts of the country in recent months.
With his troops comfortably in control of much of the country, President Assad said last month that his top priority would be “reconstruction.”
Seven years of war in Syria have made public services like water and electricity unavailable in many areas and wrecked civilian infrastructure, including hospitals and schools.
The Syrian government says the Israeli regime and its Western and regional allies are aiding Takfiri terrorist groups wreaking havoc in the country.