The Syrian Parliament announced that presidential elections will be held next month. In a move likely to keep power in the hands of President Bashar al-Assad.

Assad is not expected to face serious competition, despite the continuing armed conflict and worsening economic crisis plaguing the country.

After 10 years of fighting, the government controls most of Syria’s major population centers.

Some 400,000 people were killed in the armed conflict. More than half of the population displaced due to this conflict.

The duration of presidency

The speaker of the Parliament, Hamouda Sabbagh, announced that the process of electing a president for a new 7-year period would take place on 26 May.

Syrians living abroad are scheduled to cast their votes at embassies on May 20.

Presidential elections

This is the second presidential election since the beginning of the armed conflict.

The first elections held in 2014 and ended with Assad winning 92 % of the vote.

But the Syrian opposition called it undemocratic and illegitimate. And the United States and the European Union rejected its results as well.

The 2014 elections were the first in decades for candidates outside the Assad family. But the other two candidates then were not popularly known personalities, and they did not have much publicity.

Assad is running for a new presidential term

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad submitted his candidacy papers for a new term in elections scheduled for May 26.

The speaker of the Syrian parliament told state media. Washington and the opposition denounced the ballot as a” farce aimed at entrenching Assad’s rule.

President Bashar al-Assad is expected to remain in office. Assad, who took office in 2000 to succeed his father Hafez al-Assad, has not yet officially declared his candidacy.

He won the last presidential election in June 2014, by more than 88 percent.

Syrian opposition: presidential elections is a play

Syrian opposition has considered the presidential elections in Syria as a “play

Nasr Hariri, head of the” National Coalition of Syrian Revolutionary and opposition forces”, which forms the backbone of the Riyadh platform and the High Commission for negotiations, said via Twitter:

“The announcement by the Assad regime of the date of the election will be supervision by the security services, as usual, confirms the misery of this regime and its continued separation from the reality of the Syrian people.”

Hariri accused Assad of being a “war criminal”, saying that Syrians are waiting for them during his rule “more killing, destruction, displacement, displacement, begging, poverty, unemployment, hunger, disease and occupation.

Furthermore, the head of the Political Bureau of the Syrian National Army, Mustafa Seger, said:

“We in the opposition and the forces of the Syrian Revolution are not concerned with this declaration, and we consider Assad’s Parliament to be illegitimate, and his call is invalid”

Closing the door to opponents

Those who wish to apply for the elections must have resided in Syria continuously for the past ten years, closing the door to the possibility of any opposition resident abroad.

Not only that, but to accept his nomination, a candidate needs the approval of at least 35 members of the parliament, which the Al-Assad government controls.

Unlike in 2014, the presidential elections are taking place today with support from the Russian forces. Which retook large areas following massive attacks against opposition factions, and now control about 2/3 of the country.

Washington and European countries are calling for a boycott.

During a UN Security Council meeting last month, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield said that “these elections will be neither free nor fair”.

The Assad regime will gain no legitimacy, and does not meet the criteria of Resolution 2254, which requires to conduct it under UN supervision or under a new constitution.”

No hope in sight

there is no glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel, where there is no hope for Syrian Salvation

Indeed. The regional situation has also changed. The rapprochement between Israel and the Gulf states means Syria is now less of a priority

As the world struggles with the social and economic impacts of coronavirus, President Bashar al-Assad is preparing to run for a third presidential term that will keep him in power for another seven years.

There is a generation of children born during the war, some born in Syria, others in Europe, and in refugee camps.

Unless there is a renewed international commitment, the real change in Syria may not happen as long as he’s alive.