1. BALLOT

    Polls Open in Syrian Elections

    Syrian women have their identification checked before casting their vote in the parliamentary elections at a polling station in Damascus on May 7, 2012. Polling stations opened in Syria for the first "multiparty" parliamentary elections in five decades, being held against a backdrop of violence and which the opposition has dismissed as a sham. AFP PHOTO/LOUAI BESHARA        (Photo credit should read LOUAI BESHARA/AFP/GettyImages)

    Louai Beshara, AFP / Getty Images

    Syria held elections Monday as violence continued in the country, where more than 9,000 people have died since a popular uprising began more than a year ago. The vote for seats in the country’s 250-seat Parliament was a sham, members of the opposition against President Bashar al-Assad said. A total of 7,195 candidates from seven political parties are competing for the seats. Bashar al-Haraki, a member opposition coalition the Syrian National Council, said the election was “a farce which can be added to the regime’s masquerade.” Political parties that opposed Assad’s ruling Baath Party were illegal until the adoption of a new Constitution three months ago.

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