Voting began in Syrian local elections

Vastavam web: Voting began across government-controlled parts of Syria on Sunday for the war-ravaged country’s first local elections since 2011, state news agency SANA said. Polling booths opened at 7:00 am (local time) and are expected to stay open for 12 hours. “Voting centres opened for citizens to cast their ballots to elect their representatives in the local administrative councils,” SANA reported.

“More than 40,000 candidates are competing for 18,478 seats across all provinces,” it said. Syrian troops now control around two-thirds of the country after scoring a series of military victories in recent months, including around Damascus and in the country’s south. Voting was expected in some of the recaptured areas. The number of seats had slightly increased from the roughly 17,000 open in the last elections, as smaller villages had been promoted to fully fledged municipalities.

The councils operate at the municipal level, and newly elected representatives are expected to have more responsibilities than their predecessors, especially those linked to reconstruction and urban development.