The organizers of the “No Legitimacy for Assad and His Elections” campaign asserted that the aim of their campaign is not to prevent Bashar al-Assad from running for a new term, but rather to focus on the illegitimacy of the elections and to work at countering attempts to reproduce [the same regime model] and keep the regime afloat internationally. The organizers are planning to do so through demonstrations, media campaigns, and establishing contact with worldwide decisionmakers.
In a press conference on Friday evening, the campaign’s follow-up committee confirmed that “a general strategy has been drawn up for the campaign’s activities at the external level, which includes meetings with leaders and governments of some countries, correspondence with diplomats and international organizations, as well as regional and global political institutions — such as the Arab League, the Gulf Cooperation Council, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, and the United Nations. This is in addition to plans to communicate with Arab and international media outlets in order to remind them of the regime’s crimes and the latter’s repercussions on Syria, and to emphasize the illegitimacy of the elections the regime is holding and that its results do not represent the will of the Syrians.”
The campaign’s plan also includes organizing demonstrations, sit-ins, and protests in cities and capitals in which Syrians reside abroad, in addition to implementing similar activities in areas under the control of the opposition in Syria. As for regime-controlled areas, campaign members will coordinate with activists in some cities and governorates to carry out anti-election and anti-regime activities, circumstances permitting.
Those managing the campaign said that the regime has recently intensified its security measures in several governorates — such as Hama, Homs and Latakia — after individuals interacted with the campaign, which began last week, and the appearance of wall writings denouncing the regime in these governorates. Some phrases were written by Suweida activists, attacking the president and poking fun at his intention to run for another term.
The committee confirmed that the campaign will focus on these areas greatly, as active work will be done to orient the residents towards boycotting the elections and suggesting means to avoid voting while circumventing security pursuit. The campaign will also target those loyal to the regime by rolling out media messages that focus on the victims who have fallen in defense of the regime, a regime that starves and impoverishes families. The campaign will also include reminders about the deterioration of the economic situation, a by-product of the regime’s crimes and corruption, and will refer to the destruction of the infrastructure, the sale of the country’s facilities and wealth to Iran and Russia, and the regime’s jeopardizing of the national economy, not to mention the killing and displacement of millions of Syrians.
Regarding any possible support the campaign may have received from other countries so far, the follow-up committee confirmed in its press conference, which was held online, that campaign representatives have met, informally, with the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which confirmed its support for the campaign’s work and provided some advice about entities and institutions the campaign could possibly liaise with.
More than 120 opposition political and revolutionary groups have ascribed to the campaign. Some saw in the campaign a rapprochement opportunity between opposition movements and forces. Campaign organizers expressed plans to get in touch with opposition forces and figures and invite them to join the campaign. They also hoped that the campaign would be a starting point for everyone to rally around a national political project, but realistically, the campaign should focus on achieving its main goal first.
The organizers of the “No Legitimacy for Assad and his Elections” campaign asserted that they do not expect the regime to respond or cancel the elections — which are scheduled for June — but they will make efforts to thwart them and prevent attempts to resurrect the regime. Some of those familiar with the issue said that this campaign will put to the test the effectiveness of the dozens of revolutionary and opposition forces and bodies and their ability to influence and mobilize an audience.
This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.