TribLIVE

| USWorld

 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Pair of opponents for Assad named

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.

Daily Photo Galleries

'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

By The Los Angeles Times
Sunday, May 4, 2014, 8:00 p.m.
 

Syrian authorities on Sunday named two politicians from tolerated opposition groups as official contenders in June against an imposing incumbent: President Bashar Assad, the overwhelming favorite.

The presidential election scheduled for June 3 will be the first since Syria scrapped its previous referendum system in favor of direct voting.

The supreme constitutional court, which oversees the balloting process, whittled the official number of presidential contenders to three, including Assad. Previously, 24 prospective candidates had registered.

Few, if any, doubt that Assad, who is seeking his third seven-year term, will emerge with a landslide victory. He enjoys an extraordinary power of incumbency.

Opposition advocates have dismissed the elections as a sham designed to cement Assad's rule.

United Nations and United States officials have said the elections will make it less likely to end the war through diplomacy, which has made little headway since talks in Geneva ended without any progress earlier this year.

The major issue in any potential diplomatic solution is Assad's future. The Obama administration and its allies insist that he step down. But Russia, Iran and other nations backing the Syrian government say Assad's future is a decision for the Syrian people to make in free elections.

The two candidates who will oppose facing Assad are Maher Abdul-Hafiz Hajjar, 43, a former Communist Party activist and member of parliament who is said to be from a prominent religious family in the northern city of Aleppo; and Hassan Abdullah Nouri, 54, a Damascus native and former lawmaker who headed the nation's chamber of industry. Both are linked to opposition blocs recognized by the government.

Neither was reported to be associated with anti-government protests in 2011 that were the catalyst for the armed uprising against Assad's rule.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.

 

 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read World

  1. Afghan intelligence: Taliban leader Mullah Omar dead 2 years
  2. Turks, Kurdish rebels deepen hostility
  3. Obama celebrates gains, notes stalemates on visit to East Africa
  4. Defense secretary touts success of Kurdish fighters in war on ISIS
  5. Saudis’ deadly airstrikes resume in Yemen
  6. U.S., Turkey plan for ‘safe zone’ free of ISIS in northern Syria
  7. Scientists warn about killer robots