Speed Reads


23 Syrians are vying to get on presidential ballot with Bashar al-Assad

Salah Malkawi/Getty Images

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has some competition; Syrian government officials announced Thursday that 23 others have registered as potential candidates for the June 3 presidential election.

Opposition leaders say that the war-ravaged country's election is a "sham," the Los Angeles Times reports, only being held to extend Assad's rule. It will be the first presidential election held since reforms in 2012 that require multi-party balloting. In order to get on the ticket, a candidate must now have the backing of at least 35 members of parliament. The Times says that the other potential candidates are members of "tolerated" opposition parties, while some are relative unknowns. Assad's current term expires in July.