Bashar al-Assad won 88.7% of the vote in Syria's presidential election, parliament speaker Mohammad al-Laham said on Wednesday, securing a third term in office.
“I declare the victory of Dr. Bashar Hafez al-Assad as President of the Syrian Arab Republic with an absolute majority of the votes cast in the election,” Laham said in a televised address from his office in the Syrian Parliament.
Syria's constitutional court earlier said that turnout in Tuesday's election and an earlier round of voting for Syrian expatriates stood at 73%.
Syrian officials had described the predicted victory as vindication of Assad's three-year campaign against those fighting to oust him.
Assad's foes have ridiculed the election, saying the two relatively unknown and state-approved challengers offered no real alternative to Assad. Former Minister Hassan al-Nouri got 4.3% of the vote while parliamentarian Maher Hajjar secured 3.2%, fewer than the number of spoilt ballots.
“These elections are illegitimate and undermine the political efforts to find a solution to this horrific conflict,” the European Union said in a statement.
The United States, which has repeatedly said Assad lost his legitimacy when he responded with force to an outbreak of protests more than three years ago, said the vote changed nothing.
“With respect to the elections that took place, the so-called elections, the elections are non-elections, the elections are a great big zero,” Secretary of State John Kerry said during a brief visit to neighboring Lebanon.
“They are meaningless, and they are meaningless because you can’t have an election where millions of your people don’t even have the ability to vote, where they don’t have the ability to contest the election, and they have no choice.”
A coalition of Islamist rebel fighters described the vote as “Elections of Blood” and said it had no legitimacy.
For many Syrians voting on Tuesday, politics took second place to the yearning for stability and security after three devastating years of conflict which grew out of the mass protests in 2011 against Assad's rule.
Assad's victory came a week after former Egyptian army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi secured 96.9% of votes in Egypt's presidential election. Turnout in Egypt was 47%, the country's election commission said.