Syria Live Blog
Syria - May 7, 2012 - 11:02
Polling stations opened in Syria on Monday for the first "multiparty" parliamentary elections in five decades, being held against a backdrop of violence and dismissed as a sham by the opposition.
Voting began at 7:00 am (0400 GMT) across Syria, which has been swept by raging unrest since March last year, when President Bashar al-Assad resorted to force in a bid to quash a revolt against his autocratic regime.
The vote, initially scheduled for September 2011, was postponed to May 7 after Assad announced the launch of a reform process.
Security and logistical concerns notwithstanding, the credibility of the vote has also been hit by the refusal of the main opposition forces to participate.
Monday's election will be the first time Syria has held multiparty elections since the adoption in February by referendum of a new constitution that ended the five-decade stranglehold on power of the ruling Baath party.
Nine parties have been created, and seven have candidates vying for a parliamentary seat. Pro-regime parties led by the Baath are represented under a coalition called the National Progressive Front.