Syrian election official waits for voters at a polling station with posters of President Bashar Assad during the parliamentary election in Damascus, Syria, April 13, 2016
Syrian election official waits for voters at a polling station with posters of President Bashar Assad during the parliamentary election in Damascus, Syria, April 13, 2016
Photo: AP
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad casts a ballot in the 2014 presidential election

Woman applies to run for president of Syria for first time ever

Parliament speaker says Faten Ali Nahar, 50-year-old Damascus resident, has nominated herself for the post in the largely symbolic election which is certain to be won by President Bashar al-Assad

Associated Press |
Published: 04.20.21 , 23:12
A woman from the capital Damascus has applied to run for president of Syria, the parliament speaker said Tuesday, making her the first female to make a bid for the country's top job. The largely symbolic election is certain to be won by President Bashar Assad.
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  • The presidential election, the second since the country's civil war broke out 10 years ago, is to be held on May 26. Syrians abroad will vote on May 20.
    3 צפייה בגלריה
    Syrian President Bashar al-Assad casts a ballot in a presidential election
    Syrian President Bashar al-Assad casts a ballot in a presidential election
    Syrian President Bashar al-Assad casts a ballot in the 2014 presidential election
    (Photo: AP)
    Speaker Hammoud Sabbagh said Faten Ali Nahar, a 50-year-old Damascus resident, has nominated herself for the post. Little is known about her. The parliament speaker provided her age, place of birth and her mother's name in the announcement. There were no reports on who she is on social media.
    Two other candidates have submitted their names, including a businessman who ran against Assad in 2014. Assad won nearly 90% of the votes in that contest.
    Although Assad has not yet applied, he is widely expected to run and win a fourth seven-year term. He has held power since 2000 when he took over after the death of his father, who ran the country for 30 years.
    Syria only began allowing multi-candidate voting in the 2014 elections. Competition with Assad was symbolic and seen by opposition and Western countries as a sham aimed to give the incumbent president a veneer of legitimacy.
    3 צפייה בגלריה
    Syrian election official waits for voters at a polling station with posters of President Bashar Assad during the parliamentary election in Damascus, Syria, April 13, 2016
    Syrian election official waits for voters at a polling station with posters of President Bashar Assad during the parliamentary election in Damascus, Syria, April 13, 2016
    Syrian election official waits for voters at a polling station with posters of President Bashar Assad during the parliamentary election in Damascus, Syria, April 13, 2016
    (Photo: AP)
    The international community is unlikely to recognize the legitimacy of the upcoming elections. According to the UN resolution for a political resolution of the conflict in Syria, a new constitution is supposed to be drafted and approved in a public referendum before UN-monitored presidential elections are to take place. But little progress has been made on the drafting committee and Assad continues to have the backing of Russia and Iran.
    Last month, the Biden administration said it will not recognize the result of Syria's presidential election unless the voting is free, fair, supervised by the United Nations and represents all of Syrian society.
    Syria has been in the throes of civil war since 2011 when Arab Spring-inspired protests against the Assad family rule turned into an armed insurgence in response to a brutal military crackdown.
    Separately, Assad appointed a new governor to the Central Bank on Tuesday days after sacking his predecessor amid a crushing currency crisis.
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    Man walks past mural of Syrian flag in Damascus
    Man walks past mural of Syrian flag in Damascus
    People walk past mural of Syrian flag in Damascus
    (Photo: Gettyimages)
    Mohammad Issam Hazimeh was named the bank's new governor, replacing Hazem Qarfoul, who has been in the post since 2018. Hazimeh was Qarfoul's deputy and is a graduate of economic law from a French university.
    The Syrian pound set a record in March trading on the black market at 4,600 pounds to the dollar. At the start of the conflict, the U.S. dollar was worth 47 Syrian pounds. Last week, the central bank set the official rate at 2,512 pounds, down from 1,256 since June, to the dollar.
    Years of corruption and mismanagement, followed by a decade of war and escalating Western sanctions against Assad's government have deepened the hardship for Syrians. The UN estimates that 80% of Syrians live in poverty.
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