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Syria to hold presidential election on May 26: Parliament speaker

Hammouda al-Sabbagh (C), head of the Syrian People's Assembly presides a parliamentary session to discuss upcoming presidential election, in the capital Damascus, on April 18, 2021. (Photo by AFP)

The Syrian parliament speaker has announced that presidential election will be held in the war-ravaged Arab country on May 26.  

In a statement on Sunday, speaker of the People's Council of Syria, Hammouda Youssef Sabbagh called on prospective candidates to submit their applications to the Supreme Constitutional Court from Monday April 19 within a period of 10 days.  

“The date of the presidential election for Syrians abroad will start on May 20, 2021, while the date of the presidential election on May 26,” Sabbagh said.

“We are facing the most important constitutional deadline and holding the election is an honest expression on belonging to the homeland,” he added.

President Bashar al-Assad has not yet officially announced that he will stand for re-election in the upcoming vote.

Assad secured a landslide victory in Syria’s last presidential election on June 3, 2014. The poll was held in government-held areas, and amid high security.

Assad garnered 88.7 percent of the votes, while his two challengers, Hassan al-Nouri and Maher Hajjar, won 4.3 percent and 3.2 percent respectively.

Election rules in Syria require candidates to have lived continuously in the country for at least 10 years, which effectively prevents key opposition figures in exile from standing for office.

Candidates must also have the backing of at least 35 members of the parliament, which is dominated by the country’s ruling party and its allies.

Last July, Assad’s Baath party and its allies won the general election and took 177 seats out of 250 in the parliament. The vote was due to take place in April but had to be postponed twice due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This year’s presidential election comes as the Syrian government has been able to liberate most of the territory occupied by the foreign-backed terrorists over the past years.

Syria has been gripped by foreign-backed militancy since March 2011. The Syrian government says the Israeli regime and its Western and regional allies are aiding the Takfiri terrorist groups wreaking havoc in the Arab country.

Syrian government troops and their allies have managed to retake some 80 percent of the war-ravaged Arab country’s territory from the Takfiri terrorists.

The Syrian army is fighting to drive out the remaining militants, but the presence of US and European forces in addition to Turkish troops has slowed down its advances.

The United States has also imposed crippling sanctions on Damascus. The Syrian government has repeatedly denounced Washington’s unilateral sanctions as “crimes against humanity,” saying the Western sponsors of terrorism must pay the price for their atrocities against the Syrian nation.

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