Syria: Al-Assad formally submits candidacy for re-election
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad declared he will seek re-election in June, defying calls from his opponents to step aside and allow a political solution to the devastating civil war stemming from protests against his rule.
Assad formally submitted his nomination to Syria's constitutional court to stand in an election which his Western and Arab foes have dismissed as a parody of democracy amid the turmoil of Syria's civil war.
He is the seventh person to put himself forward for Syria's first multi-candidate presidential vote in decades, but none of his rivals are expected to mount a serious challenge and end 44 years of Assad family rule.
The announcement was made in parliament by speaker Mohammad al-Laham, who read out Assad's submission. "I...Dr Bashar Hafez al Assad...wish to nominate myself for the post of president of the republic, hoping that parliament will endorse it," it said.
Syria's opposition leaders in exile, barred from standing by a constitutional clause requiring candidates to have lived in Syria continously for 10 years, dismissed the vote as a charade.
The constitution also says candidates must have the backing of 35 members of the pro-Assad parliament, effectively ruling out dissenting voices from the campaign.
The National Coalition, Syria's main opposition umbrella group in exile, said Assad's determination to win another term in office showed he was not interested in a negotiated settlement to the crisis.