Amid huge criticism to hold presidential election in Syria, Assad registers candidacy
Damascus: Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has registered his candidacy for the June 3 presidential election, the Syrian Parliament announced Monday.
Parliament speaker Jihad al-Lham announced Assad`s candidacy while reading out the president`s letter to the parliament, Xinhua reported.
According to official reports, Assad urged his supporters to avoid firing gunshots as an expression of happiness.
Government officials have repeatedly stressed that Assad would run for the election, saying he has a high chance of winning another term in office due to the "popular support".
Opposition groups inside and outside Syria have criticised the decision to hold the presidential election amid the ongoing civil war in the country which started in 2011.
More than 150,000 people have been killed and one third of the population displaced in fierce clashes between government troops and armed militant groups.
The Syrian parliament unanimously nominated Assad to be president following the death of his father, former President Hafez Assad, in 2000.
Assad was re-elected in 2007 for a second term.
The 2014 voting for Syrians inside the country will start June 3, while overseas Syrians will cast their votes May 28.
The other two candidates contesting against Assad in the presidential election are Muhammad Maher Hajjar, a Syrian parliamentarian and former minister Hassan al-Nouri.
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