Overseas Syrians cast ballots in presidential poll

Overseas Syrians cast ballots
Damascus, May 28: Syrians living overseas started to cast ballots Wednesday in the presidential election, media reported.

Syrian nationals, mainly in Malaysia, China, South Korea, India, Indonesia, Lebanon, Venezuela, Jordan, Iran and Oman, would vote at Syrian embassies and consulates in these countries, SANA news agency reported.

Those abroad can vote only if they have a valid passport, legal residence in the countries they live, and had legally left Syria.

The overseas voting was set Wednesday while the domestic ballot is scheduled for June 3.

The number of eligible voters in and outside Syria has exceeded 15 million.

The three candidates, incumbent President Bashar al-Assad, former minister Hassan al-Nouri and lawmaker Maher Hajjar, already have put forth their electoral platforms that carry nearly the same political headlines with different visions on how to rescue the collapsed economy of the country.

The election will be the first to be held in half a century. Previously, there were only referendums to support Assad or his late father Hafez al-Assad, who was in office from 1971 to 2000.

In 2007, Bashar al-Assad won another seven years in office with 97 percent of the vote in a nationwide referendum on his leadership, in which he was the only candidate.

The Syrian opposition and Western powers have dismissed the 2014 voting as a farce.

Most of the European countries and many Arab countries said they would not allow the voting process to be carried out on their territories.


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