Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has won a fourth term in office with 95.1 per cent of the votes.
Mr Assad’s government said the election on Wednesday showed Syria was functioning normally despite the decade-old civil war, which has killed hundreds of thousands of people and driven 11 million people — about half the population — from their homes.
Head of Parliament Hammouda Sabbagh announced the results at a news conference on Thursday, saying voter turnout was around 78 per cent, with more than 14 million Syrians taking part.
The election went ahead despite a UN-led peace process that had called for voting under international supervision that would help pave the way for a new constitution and a political settlement.
The foreign ministers of France, Germany, Italy, Britain and the United States said in a statement criticising Mr Assad ahead of the election that the vote would not be free or fair.
The win delivers Mr Assad, 55, seven more years in power and lengthens his family’s rule to nearly six decades. His father, Hafez al-Assad, led Syria for 30 years until his death in 2000.
“Thank you to all Syrians for their high sense of nationalism and their notable participation… For the future of Syria’s children and its youth, let’s start from tomorrow our campaign of work to build hope and build Syria,” Mr Assad wrote on his campaign’s Facebook page.
Mr Assad’s biggest challenge, now that he has regained control of around 70 per cent of the country, will be an economy in decline.