The Syrian opposition with all its main elements will boycott the upcoming presidential referendum on May 27 that will give Bashar Assad a renewed seven year term.
Dissident activist and spokesman for the Arab Committee for Human Rights Haytham al-Manna' told AKI that this boycott is the position most in harmony with oneself, as far as Syrian democracy and human rights advocates are concerned. (Arabic. AKI, 5/24/07).
As to whether a boycott is the best way to send a message and make the voice of the democratic opposition heard, Manna' said, "I am personally against any presidential referendum, and I consider it to be a form of political fraud and deceit, conducted by the authoritarian regime to force citizens into being partners in the crime of violating free elections in broad daylight. It does not even rise to the level of the bay'a [the traditional political contract between ruler and ruled] known in Arab and Islamic history, nor is it remotely related to the idea of electing a president of the republic."
The Manna' also said that "all talk of reform have ended. Rule for rule's sake is the basic characteristic of the last seven years" of Bashar Assad's rule. He added, "does the Baath Party candidate accept that we, as human rights advocates, to be grilled on the track record of years past and our hopes for the future?"