Pair of opponents for Assad named
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.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Top Kurdish lawyer shot dead in Turkey
- Kenyans accused of spying for Iran
- Russia hits Turkey with sanctions amid frayed relations
- Testing of Tut’s tomb hints at hidden chamber
- French President Hollande, activists gear up for climate talks
- Pakistani doctor who led CIA to bin Laden stuck in prison
- Pope to preach peace in fractured Central African Republic
- Palestinian artist who appealed blasphemy sentence of 800 lashes, prison sentenced to execution
- South African judge OKs local trade in rhino horns
- Mexico seizes El Chapo’s planes, cars, houses
- Suicide bomber targets crowd of Shiites in Nigeria