WASHINGTON: The US does not take seriously a decision by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to hold parliamentary elections in the country hit by flagrant violence, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said Tuesday. "Parliamentary elections for a rubber-stamp parliament in the middle of the kind of violence that we're seeing across the country is ridiculous," Nuland told reporters in Washington.
Al-Assad, who is facing unprecedented international pressure to end his crackdown on protesters that has claimed thousands of lives, announced earlier Tuesday that the parliamentary vote will take place May 7.
The elections will be the first under the country's new constitution that enables representatives of all registered parties to run for parliamentary seats.
The new legislation, designed to end the ruling Ba'ath party's monopoly of power, was approved in a referendum Feb 27, almost a year after an outbreak of popular protests against al-Assad's rule.
Anti-government forces, who are pressing for al-Assad's resignation, have refused to recognise the new constitution's legitimacy and are unlikely to run in the polls.