Syria’s President Bashar Assad has registered to stand in next month’s presidential election, which he is widely expected to win, Parliament speaker Mohammed Al-Lahham said on Monday.
“I, citizen Bashar Hafez Assad, wish to present my candidacy for the post of president of the republic,” said a letter read in Parliament by Lahham.
The June 3 vote will be held despite a raging war that began after a massive government crackdown on peaceful anti-government protests that flared in March 2011.
So far, six other hopefuls have announced their candidacy, most of them largely unknown.
A posting on the presidency’s official Facebook page quoted Assad as calling on supporters of different candidates to express themselves through ballots.
The Syrian opposition and much of the international community has condemned the government’s plan to hold the vote, with Washington saying it would be a “parody” of democracy.
Assad became president after his father Hafez died in 2000 and will be competing in the first multi-candidate elections for the post, after a constitutional amendment did away with a referendum system.