MEDirections is delighted to share a new Research Project Report from the Wartime and Post-Conflict in Syria project (WPCS).
In May 2021, Syria held its second presidential election since the outbreak of the conflict in 2011. Beyond the foreseeable victory of President Bashar al-Assad and his re-election for a fourth term, the electoral campaign and the voter turnout constituted a test of the popular mobilisation capacity of the regime’s networks and of the performance of local officials. Drawing on official sources and first-hand data obtained through extensive parallel data-gathering processes, this paper suggests a framework for understanding the spatial variation in the mobilisation efficiency of the regime’s networks during the electoral campaign and on the polling day. It provides insights from areas where the regime’s networks enjoyed effective mobilisation capability and areas where its endeavours were contained or met with civil indifference and civil or armed resistance.