Syrian President Assad to face two rivals in this month's presidential vote
Syria's Supreme Constitutional Court has accepted three applications out of 51 for candidacy for this month's presidential election in the conflict-stricken Arab country.
Mohamad Jihad Lahham, the president of the court, said the candidacy applications of 55-year-old Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and two other candidates had been accepted.
The court's president said in a press conference broadcast on state TV that Abdallah Salloum Abdallah, a state minister from 2016 to 2020, had been approved to run for president.
The third candidate was named as Mahmoud Marei, a member of the moderate opposition.
All 48 other applications, including seven women, were rejected for “failing to meet constitutional and legal requirements,” Lahham noted.
The court’s president went on to say that those whose candidacies have been rejected have the right to appeal until May 7.
Applicants needed to garner support from at least 35 members of parliament, each of whom is only allowed to back one candidate.
Syria's presidential election, which will be the second since the start of a decade-long conflict in the country back in March 2011, is scheduled to be held on May 26. Campaigning is set to start on May 11.
Syrians abroad can vote at their embassies on May 20.
Assad won nearly 90% of the votes in the 2014 election and is widely expected to win a fourth seven-year term.
He has held power since 2000, when he took over after the death of his father, Hafez, who ran the country for 30 years.
Damascus has invited lawmakers from allied countries such as Russia, Iran, China, Venezuela and Cuba to observe the electoral process.