Posted: Apr 28, 2014 3:46 AM
Updated: Apr 28, 2014 3:46 AM
BEIRUT (AP) Syria's parliament speaker says President Bashar Assad has declared his candidacy for the June 3 presidential elections.
Speaker Jihad Laham made the announcement on state-run television on Monday.
Assad who has ruled the country since taking over from his father in 2000 was widely expected to run for a third seven-year term in office.
He is also likely to win the election, though it's unclear how the vote can take place in areas engulfed in fighting.
Opposition activists and the West have criticized the balloting, saying it will only exacerbate Syria's three-year civil war that has killed over 150,000 people and displaced more than one-third of the population.
Six other contenders are in the race, but they are mostly expected to give the election a veneer of legitimacy.