First woman ever applies to run for president of Syria

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, reported by AP. The largely symbolic election is certain to be won by President Bashar Assad.

The presidential election, the second since the country”s civil war broke out 10 years ago, is to be held May 26. Syrians abroad will vote on May 20. 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. 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.

The international community is unlikely to recognise the legitimacy of the upcoming elections. According to the U.N. 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 U.N.-monitored presidential elections are to take place.