Syrians cast ballots on Monday in the first elections under their country's new constitution but some opposition groups dismissed the vote as a sham.
State TV showed voters queueing up to choose from over 7,000 candidates vying for the 250 assembly seats up for grabs.
The elections - which appeared to have passed off peacefully at the time the Star went to press - are the first under a new constitution which was adopted by voters in a referendum three months ago.
The charter introduced presidential elections and limited the president's term to seven years with a maximum of one re-election.
Activists have plastered Damascus with candidates' photographs and programmes in recent weeks but some opposition parties intend to boycott the poll.
"The face of the regime will not change," said activist Mousab Alhamadee, speaking from Hama.
"The regime is like a woman in her seventies trying to put on make-up."
Syrian Prime Minister Adel Safar insisted on Monday that the People's Assembly will have a "pivotal role" in holding ministers to account.
Interior Minister Mohammad Ibrahim al-Sha'ar called on voters to "exercise their electoral right" by choosing the most qualified candidates.
Hind Khalil in Damascus said she'd vote for independent candidates.
"I hope that they will work for the welfare of the country and for combatting corruption and bribery," she said.
Fellow Damascus voter Mohammed Hassan accused those boycotting the vote of being "agents of the West."
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