Syria approves 3 candidates to run for presidency

Updated: 2014-05-04 21:21


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DAMASCUS - Syria's supreme constitutional court has accepted the candidacy of three contenders, including incumbent President Bashar Assad out of the 24 people who have registered for the June 3 presidential elections.

The court, tasked with overseeing the elections' process, has rejected the applications of the other 21 contenders, saying their bids haven't met the constitutional and legal conditions, the media spokesman of the court Amjad al-Khadra made the announcement Sunday.

Still, the court has left the door ajar for the discarded contenders to file petitions to the court within three days following Sunday's announcement.

Maher Abdul-Hafiz Hajjar, Hassan al-Nouri and incumbent President Bashar al-Assad have got the court's approval, said al- Khadra. Hajjar, a Syrian parliamentarian, was the first to submit application for the presidential elections.

According to the state news agency SANA, Hajjar was born in Aleppo in 1968, hailing from a family well-known in religious teaching.

Meanwhile, Hassan al-Nouri, 54, declared his candidacy for the June 3 elections, a day after lawmaker Maher Hajjar announced his bid for the top post.

Al-Nouri served as minister of administrative development and minister of state for parliamentary affairs from 2000 to 2002. He also served as the general secretary of the Chamber of Industry from 1997 to 2000, and was a member of Syrian Parliament from 1998 to 2003.

Those two people, who haven't been publicly known ahead of the elections, are now running against Assad, who was the seventh to register his candidacy.

Assad was unanimously nominated by the Syrian parliament to be president in 2000, following the death of his father, former President Hafez Assad. He was re-elected without opposition in 2007.

The timing of the presidential polls has raised the ire of the Syrian opposition and their regional and international backers, who have labeled the upcoming poll a "parody of democracy."

Government officials said President Bashar al-Assad is the " real guarantee" for the future of Syria, hinting that despite a barrage of criticism, Assad has a high chance to be re-elected for a third seven-year term.