The Syrian Arab Republic will hold presidential election on June 3, 2014, announced Syria’s parliament speaker on Monday. Current Syrian President, Bashar al-Assad, is expected to contest in this year’s round of elections despite Syria’s civil war entering its fourth year.
President Assad was widely expected by the international community to seek another seven-year term to follow up on his first and second seven-year terms as President of the Syrian Arab Republic.
Although Assad had not publicly stated whether he would run, in recent months he has appeared campaigning and visiting pro-government areas to meet seemingly happy residents.
In a statement broadcast on live television, Parliament Speaker Mohammed Laham said,
“I call on the citizens of the Syrian Arab Republic, inside and outside [the country] to exercise their right in electing a president.”
Furthermore, earlier this month, the Syrian parliament passed an electoral law that is believed to open the door to potential contenders for the Presidency besides Assad.
Following these statements, the candidates contesting in this year’s elections were announced:
President Assad appeared to welcome the new candidates, despite the possibility that they might be running against him, and said,
“Who says Syria is not a democratic country? In fancy Western countries like the United States, people can only choose between two candidates, but here in Syria, we have so many candidates to choose from.”
International media also praised this move saying that “It looks to be a difficult choice for Syrian citizens to make this year.”