MPs nominate themselves against Assad in June elections
April 24, 2014
“PLURALISM”: Syrian state television announced Wednesday MP Maher Abdul al-Hafiz Hajjar would nominate himself for Syria’s June presidential election, a decision his fellow parliamentarians lauded as a signal of Syrian “pluralism.” MP Hassan Abd al-Nouri has since announced his intention to run in a statement released Thursday.
If granted permission by the Supreme Constitutional Court, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad would face his first electoral opponents; he won two unopposed seven-year presidential terms in referendums in 2000 and 2007.
“Pluralism is the ultimate goal,” said MP Hussein Rafat, lauding the multi-candidate election in the state television broadcast.
On Wednesday, pro-opposition website All4Syria reported a third candidate, Susan Haddad, intended to register her application with the Supreme Constitutional Court. The report has yet to be confirmed.
All three possible contenders are members of Syrian Parliament. In the Syrian state television broadcast, a reporter profiles Hajjar, who was born in Aleppo in 1968 and studied languages as Aleppo University. Hajjar won a seat in parliament for the first time in 2012, after running unsuccessfully in 2007.
Abd al-Nouri is a western-educated former businessman from Damascus, reported Aswat Souria, a news site dedicated to monitoring the upcoming elections.
A new electoral law requires any potential candidate to have lived in Syria continuously for the past ten years and to win the support of 35 of 250 Syrian parliamentarians.
The Syrian opposition, the European Union, the United States and others have criticized the scheduled elections as distraction from a negotiated settlement to the conflict, uniformly characterizing the process “a parody of democracy.”
Holding presidential elections June 3rd would be “a huge blow to a political solution” and represent “bitter mockery” of “the ongoing bloodshed, pain and destruction,” the opposition Syrian National Coalition said in a statement.