Volume. 12234

Assad declares candidacy for Syria's presidential election
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c_330_235_16777215_0___images_stories_edim_01_Assad99(6).jpgSyrian President Bashar al-Assad declared on Monday he will run for re-election in a vote on June 3 which is widely expected to secure him a third term in office despite a three-year civil war stemming from protests against his rule.
Parliament Speaker Mohammed al-Lahham made the announcement during a televised session of Syria's parliament, Reuters reported. 
Assad's letter to Syria's constitutional court, read out in parliament by Lahham, said, "I ... Dr Bashar Hafez al-Assad ... wish to nominate myself for the post of president of the republic, hoping that parliament will endorse it."
A handful of other candidates have put themselves forward to run in the election.
Syria's constitution says presidential candidates must win the backing of 35 members of the parliament, and cannot have lived outside the country in the last 10 years.

Refugees who fled via unofficial crossings barred from voting
Meanwhile, Syria's electoral commission chief said that Syrians who fled their war-torn country via unofficial crossings will be barred from voting in next month's presidential election.
"Syrians who left Syria illegally do not have the right to vote in host countries," Hisham Shaar was quoted as saying by Al-Watan on Monday, according to AFP. 
Shaar said: "Electoral law authorizes Syrians who reside abroad legally to vote."
"Syrian territory is open to all Syrian citizens who wish to exercise their right to vote, especially those living in neighboring countries," he added.
Some 88 percent of registered Syrian refugees in Lebanon -- now home to more than a million people who fled Syria's brutal war -- entered the tiny Mediterranean country via official crossings, according to the UN.
However, most of those who fled to Turkey and Iraq did not go through government-controlled crossings.

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