Snap presidential elections could be held in Syria if that is the desire of the Syrian people, Syrian President Bashar Assad told Sputnik in an interview.
"This depends on the Syrian people’s stance, on whether there is a popular will to hold early presidential elections. If there is such a will, this is not a problem for me. It is natural to respond to the will of the people and not to that of certain opposition forces. This issue concerns every Syrian citizen because every citizen votes for the president," Assad said.
The Syrian leader emphasized that snap presidential elections were not a part of the current political process.
"It has been proposed to hold parliamentary elections after the new constitution [has been adopted]. These elections will show the balance of powers on the political arena. Then, a new government will be formed in accordance with the representation of political forces in the new parliament… As for presidential elections, that is a an entirely different issue," Assad said.
Direct presidential elections in which all Syrians could participate would be better for the country than the president being elected by the parliament, Syrian President Bashar Assad told Sputnik.
"I believe that people directly electing their president [and not through parliament] is a better option for us in Syria, so that the elections are as free as possible from the influence of various political forces and depend, overall, only on the people’s sentiment. From my point of view, that’s the best option," Assad said.
"How these elections will be held is a matter we are not discussing yet, because the issue of early presidential elections has not been raised. But this has to do with procedures that would allow everyone to come to the ballot boxes controlled by the Syrian state," he explained.
The Syrian leader also noted that every citizen of the country, including those who left when the war broke out, should be able to take part in the voting process.
"The more Syrians participate – anyone who has a Syrian passport or ID – the stronger the elections will be, confirming the legitimacy of the state, the president and the constitution, in accordance to which this process is being carried out… Every Syrian citizen anywhere in the world has the right to vote," he underlined.
On February 22, Assad issued a decree calling for parliamentary elections in the country on April 13.