The High Constitutional Court in Syria validated on Monday the candidacy for a fourth term of President Bashar al-Assad, which should undoubtedly win against two competitors, a former minister and a member of the opposition tolerated by the government.
Of the 51 candidates for the May 26 presidential election, only these three were accepted. The other candidates can appeal the decision to the High Constitutional Court, which is due to announce the final list of candidates on May 10.
The second ballot since the start of the war
Aged 55, Bashar al-Assad came to power in 2000 after the death of his father Hafez al-Assad, himself at the head of Syria for three decades. The poll will be the second to be held since the start in 2011 of a devastating war in Syria, triggered by the repression of demonstrations calling for democratic reforms.
Helped militarily by his Iranian and Russian allies, Bashar al-Assad succeeded in taking back from the rebels and jihadists nearly two-thirds of the territory at the cost of destructive battles that left more than 388,000 dead.
In addition to the candidacy of Bashar al-Assad, those of Abdallah Salloum Abdallah, ex-minister of state and deputy, and Mahmoud Mareï, member of the opposition inside the country, were validated, announced Jihad al. -Laham, President of the Court, at a press conference in Damascus. Mahmoud Mareï notably participated in negotiations organized under the aegis of the UN in Geneva to try to find a solution to the war.
Elections scheduled in regions held by power
The other candidatures were rejected because “they did not meet the constitutional and legal conditions”, said Jihad al-Laham. These suitors have until May 7 to appeal. To compete in the presidential election any candidate must obtain the support of 35 deputies out of the 250 in Parliament, practically all of them belonging to Bashar al-Assad’s Baath party.
According to the calendar unveiled by the government, the presidential campaign is due to start on May 11. Elections will be held in the regions held by power. Syrians living abroad will vote in their embassies on May 20.
Bashar al-Assad won the election in 2014 with over 88% of the vote. Only two competitors were in the running, strangers considered to be stooges.