Up to 12 million Syrians began voting Sunday in two days of polling to elect nearly 10,000 municipal councillors nationwide.
Polling stations across the country opened at 7 am (0400 GMT) for the second municipal election since President Bashar Al Assad came to power in July 2000, after the death of his father.
Municipal polls, in which 9,687 councillors will be elected, are held every four years.
Under Syrian law, only members of the armed forces and the police are barred from voting in the polling, which ends Monday at 2 pm.
Independent candidates are up against candidates from the National Progressive Front, the ruling coalition, in a low-key campaign that has seen only the occasional electioneering.
Headed by the Baath Party, the National Progressive Front, which, under the constitution, rules Syria, won 172 of the 250 seats in parliament in an April legislative election, in which the remaining 78 seats went to independents.
Assad, 41, the son of former president Hafez Al Assad, was reelected president May 29 for a second seven-year term in a no-contest referendum, in which he secured 97.62 percent of the vote.
Last Mod: 26 Ağustos 2007, 15:09