Bashar Assad won 88.7 percent of the vote in Syria's presidential election, parliament speaker Mohammad al-Laham said on Wednesday, securing a third term in office despite a raging civil war which grew out of protests against his rule.
Assad's foes had dismissed the election as a charade, saying the two relatively unknown challengers offered no real alternative and that no poll held in the midst of civil war could be considered credible.
"I declare the victory of Dr Bashar Hafez al-Assad as president of the Syrian Arab Republic with an absolute majority of the votes cast in the election," Laham said in a televised address from his office in the Syrian parliament.
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Syria's constitutional court earlier said that turnout in Tuesday's election and an earlier round of voting for Syrian expatriates stood at 73.42 percent.
The head of Syria's Supreme Constitutional Court Majed Khadra said that 11,634,412 out of a total of 15,845,575 eligible voters cast their ballots in Tuesday's polls.
Syrian officials had described the predicted victory as vindication of Assad's three-year campaign against those fighting to oust him.
Voting took place in government-controlled areas of Syria, but not in large parts of northern and eastern Syria held by rebels fighting to end 44 years of Assad family rule.
For the first time in decades, there were multiple candidates on the ballot. In previous presidential elections, Assad and before him his father, Hafez, were elected in single candidate referendums in which voters cast yes-no ballots.
The government has sought to present this vote as a democratic solution to Syria's three-year conflict, although a win for Assad is certain to prolong the war. Much of northern and eastern Syria is in rebel hands, and those in the armed opposition show no signs of relenting in their fight to oust Assad.
Syria's 3-year-old conflict, which activists say has killed more than 160,000 people, has left the international community deeply divided, with the US and its allies backing the revolt against Assad, who enjoys the support of Russia and Iran.
That division persisted in perceptions of Tuesday's vote.
In Beirut, US Secretary of State John Kerry sharply criticized the Syrian election, calling it "a great big zero." He said it can't be considered fair "because you can't have an election where millions of your people don't even have an ability to vote."
"Nothing has changed from the day before the election and the day after. Nothing," Kerry said during a one-day visit to the Lebanese capital. "The conflict is the same, the terror is the same, the killing is the same."
The European Union joined the US in condemning the election, saying in a statement that "it cannot be considered as a genuinely democratic vote."
In Damascus, meanwhile, a delegation led by the government's chief international supporters said Syria's first multi-candidate presidential election in over four decades was transparent and free, and would pave the way for "stability and national agreement."
The delegation of officials from more than 30 countries, including legislators and dignitaries from Iran, Russia and Venezuela, toured polling stations on Tuesday.