In an expected outcome, Syria’s incumbent president Bashar al-Assad won the May 26th election with 95.1% of the vote.

Assad’s government said the election shows Syria is functioning normally despite the decade-old conflict.

Syria’s parliament speaker, Hammouda Sabbagh announced the results at a news conference, saying voter turnout was around 78%, with more than 14 million Syrians taking part.

The Speaker went on to say that the second candidate to the Post of President, Mahmoud Marei gained 470.276 votes with 3.3% out of the voters, while Abdallah Salloum Abdallah gained 213.968 votes with 1.5 % out of the correct voters.

“Upon that, and according to article 86 of the constitution and item /B/ of article 79 of the general election law, and in light of the fact that Mr. Bashar al-Assad gained the majority of votes with 95.1%, I have the pleasure to announce the winning of Dr. Bashar al-Assad with the post of president of the Syrian Arab Republic,” the Speaker added.

The election went ahead despite a U.N.-led peace process that had called for voting under international supervision that would help pave the way for a new constitution and a political settlement.

The foreign ministers of France, Germany, Italy, Britain and the United States said in a statement criticising Assad ahead of the election that the vote would not be free or fair.

The election means that Bashar al-Assad will remain Syria’s president for 7 more years, and his family in will have been heading the country for nearly 60 years.

“Thank you to all Syrians for their high sense of nationalism and their notable participation. … For the future of Syria’s children and its youth, let’s start from tomorrow our campaign of work to build hope and build Syria,” Assad wrote on his campaign’s Facebook page.

He now needs to continue dealing with ISIS in the central region and the “moderate opposition” in Greater Idlib, but also with a heavy economic crisis.

This is due to tightening U.S. sanctions, neighbouring Lebanon’s financial collapse, the COVID-19 pandemic hitting remittances from Syrians abroad and the inability of allies Russia and Iran to provide enough relief.