Syria is to hold a presidential election on May 26; the parliament speaker announced Sunday; the country’s second in the shadow of civil war; seen as likely to keep President Bashar Al-Assad in power.
Syrians abroad will be “able to vote at embassies” on May 20; Hamouda Sabbagh said in a statement; adding that prospective candidates could hand in their applications from Monday.
Assad; who took power following the death of his father Hafez in 2000; has not yet officially announced that he will stand for re-election.
He won a previous election three years into Syria’s devastating civil war in 2014; with 88 percent of the vote.
Under Syria’s 2012 constitution; a president may only serve two seven-year terms — with the exception of the president elected in the 2014 poll.
Candidates must have lived continuously in Syria for at least 10 years; meaning that opposition figures in exile are barred from standing.
Candidates must also have the backing of at least 35 members of the parliament; which is dominated by Assad’s Baath party.
This year’s vote comes after Russian-backed Syrian government forces re-seized the vital northern city of Aleppo and other opposition-held areas; placing Damascus in control of two-thirds of the country.
But the poll also comes amid a crushing economic crisis.
The decade-long civil war has left at least 388;000 people dead and half of the population displaced.