The Syrian parliament has begun discussions related to president's electoral law which includes stricter conditions than under the current constitution.
A campaign is underway that aims at preventing all oppositionists, especially those living abroad, from participation in the elections.
The current constitution, adopted in the beginning of 2012, states that the new president should be elected 60-90 days before the end of Assad's presidential term on 17 July, 2014.
If article No. 88 in the constitution states that the president cannot be elected more than two times, article No.155 clarifies that this procedure will not take effect before the next presidential elections, which means that Assad can be elected for two more presidential terms, or another 14 years.
The law contains "detailed provisions" of president's own specifications, and new articles have been added to the specifications provided in the constitution. The new specifications include that the candidate "should be over forty years in age, should be a Syrian citizen by birth and his parents should be Syrian citizens by birth, should not be deprived of his civil and political rights, should not be convicted of an outrageous offense, should have been married to a Syrian woman, and should have been living in Syria continuously for the last ten years".
These new conditions mean simply that the members of Syrian National Coalition, or other opposition figures like Haitham Manna and Qadri Jamil, will not be able to nominate themselves, as each of them either lives abroad or has not been living in Syria continuously for the last ten years, has another nationality, in addition to the fact that many of them have been trialed under the Syrian terrorism court.
Electoral mechanisms also included new conditions, such as "the candidate should inform the parliament about his intention to nominate so that they can support his nomination" . The new law states that the candidate should be supported by at least 35 parliament members, and those members cannot support the nomination of more than one candidate.
Sources told al-Hayat that there have been communications with the representative of Syrian National Socialist Party in the Progressive Front to nominate himself for the presidential elections.
As for the General Coordinator of Coordination Commission, Hassan Abdulazim, he will face difficulty achieving the support of 35 parliament members, unless Baath party nominate him, because the Baath party has the privilege of nominating its candidate and the candidate of the opposition. Assad had visited the seat of Baath Party two weeks ago as part of his nomination campaign.
The regime has been arranging pro-Assad demonstrations in the regions under its control, while businessmen have been encouraged to support Assad's nomination.
Translated and edited by The Syrian Observer