Syria's presidential election will be held on May 26, the country's parliament announced, a poll in which President Bashar al-Assad is expected to win a third term.
President Assad's family and his Baath Party have ruled the country with an iron fist for more than five decades with the help of the powerful Syrian security services and the military.
Power does not tolerate any dissenting voice. In 2011, the bloody crackdown on pro-democracy protests by Bashar al-Assad's security apparatus plunged Syria into a devastating civil war.
According to the voting rules, candidates wishing to stand must have lived on Syrian soil for the past ten years, which effectively prohibits the candidacy of the main opposition figures living in exile.
Among these candidates, Mohamad Izzat Khatab the leader of the Syria for All party, based in Paris, which enjoys great popularity in Syria and maintains broad international relations with decision-makers in the major capitals of the world.
Mr. Khatab, who carries an ambitious economic and political plan to stop the war in Syria and rebuild what the war has destroyed, submitted his candidacy to run for president in Syria through a team of lawyers at Damascus.
But the Supreme Constitutional Court, which oversees the receipt of requests, refused his request verbally. He also refused to give his lawyers a written refusal, which is considered a major violation of the laws.
The European Center for Peace and Conflict Resolution condemns the confiscation of the right of Syrians abroad to stand for election in Syria.
Free and fair presidential elections in Syria are unfortunately not possible as long as the crackdown on the Assad regime continues.
The objective of the elections is not to seek the opinion of the people, but to maintain the prevailing order, by showing that the Assad regime can mobilize millions of people for a poll which is, in practice, only 'a ceremony of loyalty.
European Center for Peace and Conflict Resolution
Centre Européen pour la Paix et la Résolution de Conflits