While the next Syrian presidential elections are due to be held on May 26, we now know that the current Syrian President Bashar al-Assad will again be a candidate after already two decades in power.
The Parliament "has been informed by the High Constitutional Court that Bashar al-Assad has submitted an application for candidacy for the post of President of the Republic", announced Wednesday the head of the Assembly, Hammouda Sabbagh, quoted by the official agency Sana.
Candidates have until April 28 to come forward to the High Constitutional Court, which checks that they meet the required conditions.
They must also obtain the support of 35 deputies, out of the 250 in the Parliament, practically all belonging to the Baath party of Bashar al-Assad.
Fourth term for Bashar al-Assad
55-year-old Bashar al-Assad will be running for his fourth term.
He came to power in 2000, after the death of his father Hafez, himself at the head of Syria for three decades.
For the state media, the election seems to him already acquired.
This is the sixth application for candidacy.
Five other people little known to the public - including a former parliamentarian, a businessman and a lawyer - have already come forward to the High Constitutional Court.
The poll will be the second held since the start in 2011 of a devastating conflict that left more than 388,000 dead.
Law prevents opponents in exile from running
In 2014, Bashar al-Assad won the election with more than 88% of the vote.
Only two competitors were in the running, strangers considered to be stooges.
The electoral law de facto prevents opposition figures in exile from standing: each candidate must indeed “have lived in Syria for a period of 10 years continuously at the time of presenting his candidacy”.
Supported by Iran and Russia, the Syrian president has chained the military victories in recent years against the rebels and jihadists, until reclaiming nearly two-thirds of the territory.
The ruined country has been hit for more than a year by an acute economic crisis, marked by a tumble of the national currency against the dollar and an explosion of inflation.
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Bashar al Assad