World Bulletin / News Desk
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad declared on Monday he will run for re-election in a vote on June 3 which is widely expected to secure him a third term in office despite a three-year civil war stemming from protests against his rule.
Parliament Speaker Mohammad al-Laham made the announcement during a televised session of Syria's parliament.
Assad's Western and Arab foes have condemned the election as a parody of democracy, saying no credible poll can be held in a country where 6 million people have been displaced, 2.5 million have fled as refugees and hundreds are killed daily.
Assad's letter to Syria's constitutional court, read out in parliament by Laham, said: "I ... Dr Bashar Hafez al Assad ... wish to nominate myself for the post of president of the republic, hoping that parliament will endorse it."
Syria's constitution says presidential candidates must win the backing of 35 members of the pro-Assad parliament, and cannot have lived outside the country in the last 10 years.
As the controversial Syrian presidential elections approach, the number of candidates who have submitted their documents to run in the polls has risen to four.
According to Syria's official news agency SANA, Syrian Parliamentary Speaker Muhammad Jihad al-Lahham said that among the candidates who have put their names forward to run in the elections on June 3 is Sawsan Omar al-Haddad, the first woman to ever apply for the position in the country.
The names of the other candidates are Mohammad Firas Yassin Rajjouh, Abdul-Salam Youssef Salameh and Sameer Ahmad Mo'alla.
Applications started to be received on April 22 and will continue until May 1.
The country's electoral commission chief said on Monday that Syrians who have fled the war-torn country via unofficial crossings will not be allowed to vote in the elections.
"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.
According to the U.N., 88 percent of registered Syrian refugees in Lebanon -- now home to more than a million people who fled Syria's brutal war -- entered via official crossings. However, those who fled to Turkey and Iraq did not.Last Mod: 28 Nisan 2014, 14:15