Syria to hold presidential election on June 3

Photo: Syria to hold presidential election on June 3 / Arabic region

Syria will hold presidential elections that are expected to return President Bashar Assad to office on June 3, the country's parliamentary speaker said on Monday.

Syria's first presidential election - after constitutional amendments did away with the old referendum system - will be held amid a devastating civil war that has killed more than 150,000 people, with rebels holding large swathes of territory, Naharnet reported.

"Elections for the president of the Syrian Arab Republic for Syrians resident in the country will be held on June 3 from 7:00 am to 7:00 pm," Mohammad al-Lahham said during a special session of parliament.

Voting for Syrians living outside the country will take place on May 28, he added, saying candidates for the presidency could register to run from Tuesday until May 1.

Assad, whose term ends on July 17, is widely expected to run and win another seven-year term in office despite the conflict.

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

More than 150,000 people have been killed in the fighting in Syria since March 2011, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

The conflict, which began with peaceful protests against Assad's government, has also displaced nearly half of Syria's population inside and outside the country.

The government has not laid out how it plans to hold elections under the circumstances.

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