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Opposition Areas Refuse Participating in Syria’s Upcoming Presidential Elections

Opposition Areas Refuse Participating in Syria’s Upcoming Presidential Elections

Wednesday, 21 April, 2021 - 13:00
Syrian women at an orphanage in Damascus last Sunday (Reuters)

A woman from the capital Damascus has applied to run for president of Syria, the parliament speaker said Tuesday, making her the first female to make a bid for the country’s top job.

Speaker Hammoud Sabbagh said Faten Ali Nahar, a 50-year-old Damascus resident, has nominated herself for the post. The parliament speaker provided her age, place of birth and her mother’s name in the announcement.

Nahar is the daughter of a retired major general in the Syrian army and went to law school at Damascus University.

Having been an official lawyer for 12 years, Nahar is also a registered member of Syria’s bar association.

Set to be held in regime-held areas only, Syria’s upcoming presidential elections are more symbolic than real and will certainly be won by President Bashar Al-Assad.

Any candidate wishing to run for president needs to first garner support from at least 35 members of the 250-seat parliament, which is dominated by Assad's Baath party.

Two candidates filed applications with the high constitutional court, state news agency SANA said, a day after the speaker of parliament announced the poll will take place on May 26.

It is worth noting that the two candidates include a businessman who ran against Assad in 2014.

Presidential hopefuls have until April 28 to put forth their candidacy for the second such vote to be held during the war.

Syrians living in northwestern and northeastern Syria, however, continue to oppose the elections which they consider are designed to cement Assad’s autocratic rule.

“We consider Assad's parliament to have no legitimacy, and this is a theatrical farce and a desperate effort to reinvent this criminal regime,” said Mustafa Sejari, a prominent opposition figure.

“All opposition political and revolutionary forces, entities, and blocs—both civilian and armed—are united in their opposition to these presidential elections,” Youssef al-Ahmed, a major in the Free Syrian Army, told Asharq Al-Awsat.

More so, an official from the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria reasserted there would be no ballot boxes areas under Rojava’s control.

Opposition and Western leaders have been demanding for a decade that Assad, whom they accuse of crimes against humanity, step down.

In other news, Russia's defense ministry said Monday that it had killed "up to 200 fighters" in Syria during an air strike on a "terrorist" base northeast of Palmyra.

"After confirming data through multiple channels on the location of terrorist facilities, Russian Aerospace Forces aircraft carried out airstrikes," the ministry said in a statement, adding that they "eliminated two hideouts" and "up to 200 militants".

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