Bashar al-Assad has presented documents to run for a third term in an election scheduled for May 26, the Assad regime’s parliamentary speaker held on state media.
The parliamentary speaker initially proclaimed the election, the second under the silhouette of the war, on Sunday. Washington and the Syrian opposition have condemned it as a charade designed to cement Assad’s dictatorship.
Assad, who took power following the death of his father Hafez in 2000, attained victory in the previous election in 2014, three years after a bloody suppression of anti-government protesters and amid the furious conflict. At the time, he was given nearly 90 percent of the vote.
Since then, Russia’s military intervention has helped Assad to regain large swathes of land from opposition forces, who now control a small pocket of land in the country’s northwestern region.
Under Syria’s 2012 constitution, a president may only serve two seven-year terms – with the exception of the president elected in the 2014 poll.
Candidates must have lived continuously in Syria for at least 10 years, meaning that opposition figures exiled by the Assad regime are barred from declaring their nomination for the elections.