Syrian 'internal opposition' figure to run

Maher Abdul-Hafiz Hajjar, believed to represent Aleppo governate in parliament, to challenge Assad, state media says.

    Syrian 'internal opposition' figure to run
    Previous presidential elections took the form of a referendum held on a single candidate [AP/SANA]

    Syrian state media has reported a member of the People's Assembly has registered as a challenger to Bashar al-Assad in the upcoming presidential election.

    The Syrian opposition in exile has criticised the planned election of June 3 as a "farce", while the UN and the Arab League have said it poses a major obstacle to efforts for a negotiated peace.

    "The speaker of the Syrian People's Assembly Mohammad Jihad al-Laham announced on Wednesday that the Assembly received from the Supreme Constitutional Court a candidacy application from MP Maher Abdul-Hafiz Hajjar to run for president," SANA, the official news agency, reported.

    Sources in Syria say that  Hajjar is a member of the internal opposition and a member of Syrian People's Assembly representing Aleppo governorate.

    It will be Syria's first presidential election - previously a referendum was held on a single candidate but that system was replaced by an amendment to the constitution.

    Hajjar's candidacy was announced two days after Lahham said Syria would hold a presidential election.

    Election rules require candidates to have lived in Syria for the last decade, effectively preventing key opposition figures in exile from standing.

    The Syrian conflict has killed more than 150,000 people and nearly half of Syria's population has been displaced.

    Violence continues to ravage many parts of the country, even reaching the heart of the capital, which has come under repeated mortar fire by opposition fighters on its outskirts.

    The government has not laid out how it plans to hold a credible election with large swathes of the country outside its control.


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Interactive: Take a tour through divided Jerusalem

    Interactive: Take a tour through divided Jerusalem

    Take a tour through East and West Jerusalem to see the difference in quality of life for Israelis and Palestinians.

    Stories from the sex trade

    Stories from the sex trade

    Dutch sex workers, pimps and johns share their stories.

    Inside the world of India's booming fertility industry

    Inside the world of India's booming fertility industry

    As the stigma associated with being childless persists, some elderly women in India risk it all to become mothers.