Syria's Assad to run for third term as president
BEIRUT - Reuters / Agence France-Presse
Bashar al-Assad has formally submitted his nomination to seek a third term in office in an election due to be held June 3. AFP PhotoSyrian President Bashar al-Assad has formally submitted his nomination to seek a third term in office in an election due to be held June 3, the speaker of parliament said on April 28.
Reading out a letter he said was submitted by Assad to the constitutional court, the speaker quoted Assad as saying: "I ... Dr Bashar Hafez al Assad ... wish to nominate myself for the post of president of the republic, hoping that parliament will endorse it."
Opposition activists and the West have criticized the balloting, saying it will only exacerbate Syria's three-year civil war that has killed over 150,000 people and displaced more than one-third of the population.
Six other contenders are in the race, but they are mostly expected to give the election a veneer of legitimacy.
Syria bars refugees who fled via unofficial posts from voting
Syrians who fled their war-torn country via unofficial crossings will be barred from voting in next month's presidential elections, the country's electoral commission chief said on Monday.
"Syrians who left Syria illegally do not have the right to vote in host countries," Hisham Shaar was quoted as saying by pro-regime newspaper Al-Watan on Monday.
Some 88 percent of registered Syrian refugees in Lebanon -- now home to more than a million people who fled Syria's brutal war -- entered the tiny Mediterranean country via official crossings, according to the UN.
However, most of those who fled to Turkey and Iraq did not go through government-controlled crossings.
Shaar said: "Electoral law authorises Syrians who reside abroad legally to vote."
"Syrian territory is open to all Syrian citizens who wish to exercise their right to vote, especially those living in neighbouring countries," he added.