Bashar al-Assad submits documents to run for a third term in elections scheduled for May 26.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has submitted documents to run for a third term in an election slated for May 26, the speaker of parliament said in state media.
Speaker of parliament announced the election – the second in the shadow of war – Sunday. Washington and the Syrian opposition denounced it as a farce intended to consolidate Assad’s authoritarian regime.
President Assad, who took power after the death of his father Hafez in 2000, won the previous election in 2014, three years after a bloody crackdown on anti-government protesters and amid the raging conflict. At the time, he had obtained almost 90% of the vote.
Since then, Russia’s military intervention has helped Assad reclaim large swathes of land from opposition fighters, who now control a small pocket of land in the country’s northwest region.
Under Syria’s 2012 constitution, a president can only serve two seven-year terms – with the exception of the president elected in the 2014 ballot.
Candidates must have lived continuously in Syria for at least 10 years, meaning that exiled opposition figures who were fighting to end the Assad family’s 51-year rule are not allowed to stand. .
The poll also comes amid the coronavirus pandemic and economic crisis.
The country faces an aggravation the food and electricity situation, with many residents of government-controlled areas lining up for fuel and bread.
Intermittent power cuts have forced local businesses to shut down, which has increased the unemployment rate in recent months.
The value of the Syrian pound has plummeted on the black market, accelerated by the financial crisis in neighboring Lebanon as well as US sanctions.
This year marks the 10th anniversary of a crackdown on pro-democracy protesters that sparked a war that left much of Syria in ruins.
The multi-faceted conflict has sucked up world powers, killed hundreds of thousands and displaced millions more, but is now coming to an end with his allied-backed Assad regaining control of most of the country .