The Damascus Declaration (DD) grouping, the largest opposition umbrella gathering, said that the Syrian people "turned their faces away" from the parliamentary elections held last week. It also considered the statements made by regime officials, accusing the opposition of treason and collaboration, as reflecting "tension and anxiety." (Arabic. AKI, 4/27/07).
The gathering was referring to the statements made by the Minister of Expatriate Affairs, Buthaina Shaaban, who accused the opposition of collaborating with foreign forces, namely the US. Shaaban then threatened that "the fate of all those who collaborate against their country is well known." (AP, 4/22/07).
The DD's statement added that the Syrian people responded appropriately to these statements by boycotting the elections. (Arabic. ME Transparent, 4/27/07).
The grouping, which includes more than 20 organizations and various individuals, said that the voting process revealed "direct intervention to handpick independents by fielding so-called shadow lists." It also accused the authorities of "interference in counting the votes," and of "pressuring the candidates, and forbidding any political programmes."
The DD also revealed that there were pressures on public sector employees and college students "threatening to expel them from dorms in order to force them to vote."
The grouping added that the Syrian people turned their backs to the "elections theater," and thus "confirmed the correctness of the opposition's decision to boycott these sham elections." It also called for "a real and serious revision of the entire political and legal situation that governs the country and which entrenches the hegemony of a repressive and corrupt authority."